Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Does Anyone Read the Writings of Sir Walter Scott Anymore?

In Central Park, New York City, New York, there is a statue to Robert Burns and to Sir Walter Scott.  Both were crafted by Sir. John Steel.  I wonder if anyone still reads the works of Sir Walter Scott?  They are probably not taught in our high schools any more.  It seems that I can remember reading some of his stories, but it has been a long time ago and the world has changed.

Scott was important for his time and was a lot like Robert Burns whom he saw once in Edinburgh.  He had a great deal of pride in the history of Scotland and was aware of its importance in his time.  He also  helped rediscover Scotland's past and he actually discovered Scotland's Crown Jewels when he found them behind a chamber in Edinburgh Castle in 1818.  They were hidden behind a brick wall and had been lost for 100 years.

The statue of Scott in Central Park was in celebration of his centennial birth.  The Sculptor was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and he also did the monument to Scott on Princess street in Edinburgh.  Many of us have enjoyed that great monument on our visits to Scotland.  I understand some people don't like the iron structure above the statue, but I do. 

William Cullen Bryant spoke at the unveiling in Central Park, November 2, 1872.  He said:  "and now as the statue of Scott is set up in the beautiful park, which a few years since, possessed no human associations, historical or poetic, connected with its shades, its lawns, its rocks and waters, these grounds become peopled with new memories."

In 1993, the pedestal and sculpture were restored.  It was funded by the Saint Andrew's Society of New York.

 I have a story that the original plans for the Edinburgh Monument were lost in the Great Fire in Chicago, 1871.  Interesting story.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from a member of the St Andrew's Society of New York whose chief residence is in Scotland (but lives in London weekdays)

    Sadly Sir Walter Scott is not even taught in Scottish schools these days. In England there is a movement by trendy educationalists to scrap the works of Shakespeare. Maybe they feel he didn't contribute much to the English language and the nation's culture.

    This appears to be part of a transatlantic movement to "dumb down" and I see this every day when I read job applications to my company.
    The grammatical and numerical skills are risible and that includes applicants from many of our newer universities.

    Don't get me started or I'll be here all day.

    Kind regards

    Jack Irvine
    Media House International