Edinburgh (new ed.)
A Cultural History
Donald Campbell; foreword by Allan Massie
5” x 8 ¼” • 227 pages • b&w photos • maps
ISBN 9781566567220 • paperback • $15.00 •
From beneath the heights of the Castle Rock, Scotland's capital spreads out in Gothic glory and Classical pomp, its Old Town and New Town juxtaposed across one of the most celebrated streets in Europe. Baptized "the Athens of the North" for its thriving intellectual and cultural life, the city welcomes legions of visitors to its world-famous arts festival each summer. The annual Tattoo has come to symbolize a certain idea of traditional Scottishness, while Edinburgh even sparkles in the gloom of deepest winter when it hosts its spectacular Hogmanay party.
These are the familiar images of Edinburgh: a city of drama and celebrations, high culture and Scottish heritage. Yet, as Simon Pia reveals, there are many other dimensions to this fascinating meeting-place of Protestantism and bohemianism. Exploring the social and literary history of an ever-changing metropolis, he also looks at Edinburgh's lesser-known landmarks, ranging from its historic heart to the drug-ridden suburbs. An insider's view of a contradictory city, this book shows the many faces of Edinburgh past and present - from the Royal Mile to the port of Leith.
• The city of Jekyll and Hyde: Presbyterian respectability and "Tartan Noir" decadence; religious intolerance and Enlightenment thought; West End gentility and criminal underworld.
• The city of popular culture: from Robert Burns to Sean Connery; the inspiration for Walter Scott and Conan Doyle; fringe dramatics and club life; the chemical generation of Trainspotting.
• The city of political and religious intrigue; the Reformation conflict; the divisive symbolism of Holyrood House; unionist and nationalist passions; the new Scottish parliament.
Donald Campbell is a poet, playwright and theater historian who has lived in Edinburgh all his working life.
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