Edinburgh became the world's first UNESCO City of Literature in 2005, and is celebrated today for its wealth of literary connections. Figures like Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Rankin and JK Rowling occur frequently in many visitors' experiences of Edinburgh, but there's a whole host of less familiar - or less expected - literary associations too.
Here's my brief peek at five other bookish figures whose lives intersected with Edinburgh...
The city may be famous for crime novelists like Doyle, Ian Rankin, Ambrose Parry and Quintin Jardine, but the grandmother of all popular crime writers also has an Edinburgh connection.
Agatha Christie was married at St Cuthbert's church in 1930 - her second marriage, after she sought a divorce from her first husband. At that time, that she was a divorcee was scandalous enough, but the man she was marrying being 14 years younger than her was even more so!
Max Mallowan was an archaeologist, and their marriage was an elopement - they tied the knot at St Cuthbert's church with no friends or family, just two witnesses off the street.
In her autobiography, Christie describes being married at St Columba's church in Edinburgh, rather than St Cuthbert's... Could this be an easy mistake to have made, or a deliberate red herring in her own life story?
THOMAS DE QUINCEY
Born in Manchester in northern England, DeQuincey is still best known for the semi-autobiographical novel he wrote in 1821 called Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
His life had been full of personal drama, including bereavement, unemployment and homelessness, and he had begun using opium as a means of suppressing his pain and his moods, and became addicted - the novel he wrote was based on these experiences, including time he spent under the care of the monks at Holyrood Abbey, which in the nineteenth century was still a debtors' sanctuary.
DeQuincey died in Edinburgh in 1859 and was buried in St Cuthbert's churchyard. His work is considered by some to have inspired other writers to create stories of their addictions, itself a literary genre today. Perhaps without DeQuincey we may not have had Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, another Edinburgh literary connection.
The original Mrs Doubtfire, of Anne Fine's children's novel Alias Madam Doubtfire, was an Edinburgh woman named Annabel Coutts, who ran a second-hand shop in the New Town. She had been married a number of times, her first husband being a seaman named Arthur Doubtfire. She had been questioned on a number of occasions on suspicion of running brothels in the city, and using her shop as a front for the money she made, hence her nickname 'Madam Doubtfire'...
In the 1970s, when Anne Fine was staying in the city, she came to know of Madame Doubtfire's shop, and would later use the name for her children's story, which later got turned into the classic family film, Mrs Doubtfire.
The accent Robin Williams uses in the film is not just a Scottish accent but decidedly an Edinburgh accent, so it's possible he knew something of the character's local origins...
A figure not often thought of as a Scottish writer so much as an English one is Kenneth Grahame, best known for The Wind in the Willows. But he had been born in Edinburgh before moving to England as a young child.
His family had occupied a house on Castle Street in the New Town, in which today is a bar and a restaurant named Badger and Co., after the characters from his most popular story.
Best known as a novelist for books like Robinson Crusoe, Defoe found inspiration for that story following time spent in Edinburgh in 1706.
At that time, the Scottish government was in discussion with the English parliament about what would become the Act of Union, creating the United Kingdom under one political system.
Defoe had been employed by the English government to act as a spy, and had been posted to Edinburgh under cover of working for one of the local newspapers - his job was to report back to the English authorities about the attitudes to the union that was being negotiated, and to keep them informed about developments that the official channels of communication may not cover.
During his time in the city, Defoe lived at Moubray House on the Royal Mile. The building still stands, adjacent to John Knox's House on High Street, and I often use it on tours to illustrate what many of Edinburgh's old buildings would have looked like at one time or another - narrow, with a shop front at street level and then an external staircase providing access to accommodation space on the upper floors.
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