Northern Laughter

Karl Miller

  • The Life of Sir Walter Scott by John Macrone, edited by Daniel Grader
    Edinburgh, 156 pp, £65.00, February 2013, ISBN 978 0 7486 6991 2

Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants. Here was the promise of a main event in the comet’s six-year visit to the Anglo-Scottish cultural scene. A few of these students may have formed the impression that Macrone’s Life would never see the light of day, and that it would be no loss if it didn’t. Macrone’s fragmentary text, however, has now been found in the John Galt archive at the University of Guelph in Canada. So now we know what we have been missing, or not missing.

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