Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Writers' Museum

Today, we went to the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh. It primarily concentrates on the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, all Scottish authors. A temporary exhibit space features different authors, too. While we were there, it focused on Ian Rankin, author of the Detective Rebus series based in Edinburgh.

The house was built in 1622. In 1907, it was donated to the city to use as a museum. Inside the building, we were able to see some items from the different authors' lives including a printing press at the top of the building (unfortunately the audio explanation about it was broken), a set of walking sticks, Burns' writing desk, a dining table where Scott wrote some of his novels, pictures of Stevenson throughout his life, and much more.

I found the Rankin and Rebus exhibit interesting. I had heard of this series before but had never read it. After going to this exhibit, however, my interest was caught and I think I will. The first book Rebus appeared in was called Knots and Crosses. Originally, the author planned to kill that character off but his editor convinced him not to. While researching for Knots and Crosses, Rankin himself was briefly considered a suspect in a real life case in Edinburgh that was similar to his plot.

When I was getting ready to leave the museum, I happened to see this sign on the stairway. "Warning: During reconstruction it was found that this stair had been built with steps of varying heights. This was sometimes done in old houses in order that persons unfamiliar with the dwelling might betray their presence by stumbling. The feature has been retained."

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