Castles and Crags: Edinburgh From Settlement to Disunion with Jenny Litster

Castles and Crags: Edinburgh From Settlement to Disunion with Jenny Litster


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Scotland is an exceptionally small country: exceptional in its rugged grandeur, in the richness of its history and culture, in the quality of its whisky and the pride of its inhabitants – “Here’s tae us. Wha’s like us? Damn few, and they’re aw deid!” Edinburgh, shadowed by a castle on a crag and an extinct volcano, is Scotland’s seat of government and law, a center of learning and literature, its beauty a draw to visitors from around the world.

Edinburgh was first inhabited in the Mesolithic Age; Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements scar the Castle Rock. In 2020, the city is home to around half a million people, the Scottish government sits in a new parliament building at the foot of the Royal Mile, and its Old and New Towns are UNESCO World Heritage sites. This first lecture will establish the timelines of Edinburgh’s past and its people against the backdrop of Scottish and English history and beyond.

This lecture is the first of the course ‘Saints and Sinners: The Double Life of Edinburgh’. It is designed for anyone with an interest in Scotland, its history, its culture, and its people – whether you can trace your ancestors back to the Highland clans, plan to visit Scotland in the future, or just want to explore the narrow streets and dark tales that crisscross its capital.

Born and raised in the Scottish Borders, Jenny moved to Edinburgh in the late 1980s to study History and English Literature. She later completed a PhD on the Scottish context of Canadian author L.M. Montgomery at the University of Edinburgh, where she also taught American History. Jenny worked in adult education research and policy at the Institute of Education, London for over a decade, living in Edinburgh and travelling regularly to Europe. Her main interests lie in Scottish literature, culture and folklore and in children’s books. She has two daughters.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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