Whether you aspire to be the next Robert Burns or simply love to read, if you are an English Literature student in Edinburgh, you are in luck. Dubbed by the United Nations as the first “City of Literature” in 2004, Edinburgh has produced countless literary greats. Simply walking down the street you might walk past pubs that were once the favoured spots of famous writers. If you are looking for a more active way of engaging with literature outside of your course, here are some things you can do:
If you are interested in the historical background of literary works, I would recommend visiting The Writer’s Museum, located on the Royal Mile. The museum provides in-depth portraits of many of the writers you will be studying, including Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. They have a range of displays, from personal objects collected from Stevenson’s travels to a recreation of the 18th century dining hall from Scott’s Edinburgh home.
This city is world renowned for its theatre companies, and so you would be missing out if you didn’t see a few productions. The student-run Bedlam Theatre Company puts on a variety of productions, from classics like Shakespeare’s Coriolanus to more contemporary plays, such as Europe by David Greig.
While we read many plays in our tutorials, they were written to be seen, and I find viewing a production of a play reveals new levels of depth and meaning, not to mention it is a more enjoyable experience. You might even luck out and catch a production of one of your tutorial readings (Twelfth Night is coming out soon, for all the first years!).
In the evenings, if you are looking for a social outing with friends, I recommend attending the Poetry Slams held monthly by Lit Soc. From funny accounts of relationship mishaps to thoughtful meditations on politics, the poems will evoke a range of emotions and thoughts. Spoken word is a captivating and accessible form, so if you are feeling weighed down by the thick novels from your course, attending a poetry slam might remind you how enjoyable literature can be.
Image: Bryan Eldridge via Flickr