Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) is a Scottish icon, widely regarded as the national poet of the Scots, and whose life and work is commemorated on ‘Burns Night’ on the 25th of January each year.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish historian, political economist, writer, rhetorician, astronomer, and social philosopher, who wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations’. It is considered the first book of modern political economy, and still provides the foundation for the study of that discipline.
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author and poet. He wrote on many subjects, including Christianity as he was a minister of the church. However, it is his children’s fantasy and fairy stories for which he is remembered. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, W.H. Auden and Edith Nesbit, to name but a few, were some of his fellow authors influenced by his work. ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ is his most enduring work.
David Hume (1711-1776) is one of the most important British philosophers, essayists, and historians of the eighteenth century. Hume’s works, controversial in his day, remain deeply and widely influential in ours, especially for his contributions to our understanding of the nature of morality, political and economic theory, philosophy of religion, and philosophical naturalism.
Andrew Lang (1844 – 1912) was one of the most important collectors of folk and fairy tales, which he edited into twenty volumes, from ‘The Blue Book’ onwards. Some of his best work is available from Wordsworth, in ‘Tales from the Arabian Nights’, ‘Tales of Troy and Greece’, and ‘Tales from King Arthur’.
J. M. Barrie (1860-1937) was a Scottish novelist and playwright now remembered for writing ‘Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’, which first appeared as a play in 1904, and eventually as a book in 1928, with the rights being gifted to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
John Buchan (1875-1940) was a Scottish writer of both fiction and non-fiction work. His most enduring work is ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’, a ripping yarn featuring Richard Hannay, who went on to appear in a further four novels.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish physician and writer. His works encompass a wide variety of genres, and it was his historical novels that he considered his finest work. However, posterity remembers him only as the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Each new generation discovers Holmes afresh, as the current TV and film adaptations demonstrate. Doyle created a character so well known that he exists in the borderline between fiction and reality.
Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish novelist, playwright and poet. He is notable for being the first British author that gained an international reputation during his lifetime. Although the romanticism of his historic fiction later fell out of favour with critics, his major novels, such as ‘Rob Roy’ and ‘Ivanhoe’, are acknowledged as classic works of literature.