Scottish Fiction

The extensive holdings of Scottish fiction in the Novel collection amount to well over 200 titles. As well as the work of very well-known writers including Walter Scott, James Hogg, Susan Ferrier and John Lockhart, it includes many rare works by writers whose popularity in the Victorian period has not lasted to the present day.

Frontispiece and title-page of S. R. Crockett: Sir Toady Lion (Sp Coll Z1-c.31); links to further information about this book

Scottish literature is here taken to mean works by authors who were born in Scotland, but who may have spent their adulthood elsewhere. For example, the collection includes work by the Victorian journalist and novelist William Black (1841-1898), a native of Glasgow and a contributor to the Glasgow Citizen, whose permanent residence was Brighton, and also by Margaret Oliphant (1828-1897), who was born near Edinburgh and who had a long-running and important relationship with the Edinburgh publishers Blackwoods, but who spent her adult life in Windsor and on the Continent.

The earliest volumes of fiction in the collection date from the early 19th century renaissance of Scottish literature. The collection includes first editions of five volumes by Hogg, two by Lockhart, several by the satirist John Galt, and three of Ferrier’s comical satires of Scottish life and contemporary mores.  Among novels from the later decades of the century, the collection boasts a first edition of Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and several first editions of Margaret Oliphant’s fiction.

These prominent writers are accompanied in the collection by less well-known authors who were nevertheless widely read in their age. Examples include Lady Caroline Lucy Scott (1784-1857), the author of evangelical and pious educational works in the 1830s and novels that attracted George Eliot’s scathing criticism in her famous essay ‘Silly Novels by Lady Novelists’; and G. R. Gleig (1796-1888), who made his name as a military writer; his The Subaltern, for instance, provides a narrative account of the Peninsular campaigns.

The collection has very good holdings in mid-19th-century novels written by authors of Scottish birth making their name in London, often in genre fiction. For example, William Black (1841-1898) was one of the most celebrated novelists of the period, specialising in maiden heroines and landscape descriptions, and often compared to Trollope. One of his major themes was the cultural encounter between Scotland and France, or the Highlands and London, and the first editions of his novels including The Daughter of Heth (1871) and Kilmeny (1883) are held in the collection. Similarly, the reputation of James Whyte-Melville (1821-1878) rested on hunting novels, but his entire output of twenty-six novels also includes dramas of contemporary life and period romances. Of these titles, fourteen are held in the Novel Collection.

The best represented 20th-century authors are the historical novelist Neil Munro (1863-1930), whose central concern is the impact of historical change on the Highlands, and John Buchan (1875-1940), the author of perennially popular adventure and spy fiction.

The collection also offers alternative angles on Scottish writing, especially travel writing and ethnography. Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border created a lasting interest in Scottish folklore, and also inspired Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) to collect Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry (1822). The work of the early ethnographers was continued with more sustained impetus by Andrew Glass and Joseph Grant during the Victorian period. The collection also has strong holdings in writing by Scottish travellers, and accounts of travels in Scotland.


The Novel Collection holds at least 214 Scottish titles. Of these, 154 (over 70%) are not available in modern editions or outside university research libraries. Based on information in COPAC, the British union catalogue, 89 of the titles we hold are available in six or fewer libraries in the UK.

Some of our titles are exceptionally rare: COPAC shows that there are only three or fewer copies in UK libraries. These titles are the following:

John Ainslie: Ernest Campbell, London: James Cochrane and Co., 1835. Sp Coll Z1-h.4-6

James Lachlan Galbraith: The Emeritus-Professor, Glasgow: MacLehose, 1912. Sp Coll Mu21-c.24, Sp Coll Z6-a.4 & Sp Coll Z6-c.27

Andrew Glass: Tales and Traditions of Scotland, Glasgow: Hay Nisbet, 1878. Sp Coll Z1-b.20

Hume Nisbet: The Bushranger's Sweetheart, London: F.V. White & Co., 1893. Sp Coll Z1-b.3

Margaret Oliphant: Mathew Paxton, London: Hurst and Blackett, 1854. Sp Coll Z5-e.15-17

Selected bibliography of Scottish Fiction in the Novel Collection

This list is arranged alphabetically by author.

For detailed bibliographical information and holdings details, please click on the link after the relevant title. This will take you to the main library catalogue record.

Anon.: Edinburgh: a satirical novel London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1820. Sp Coll Z6-d.29-31 

William Alexander: Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk in the parish of Pyketillim, with glimpses of the parish politics about A.D. 1843 Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas, 1873. Sp Coll Z1-b.17

R. M. Ballantyne: The Coral Islands: a tale of the Pacific Ocean London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1877. Sp Coll Z7-a.8

J. M. Barrie: A window in Thrums London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1899. Sp Coll Z1-c.22

William Black: Kilmeny London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1883. Sp Coll Z2-c.21

John Buchan: Witch wood London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1927. Sp Coll Z1-x.18

S. R. Crockett: The surprising adventures of Sir Toady Lion London: Gardner, 1897. Sp Coll Z1-c.31

R. B. Cunninghame Graham: The Ipane London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1899. Sp Coll Z1-c.27

Susan Ferrier: Marriage: a novel Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1818. Sp Coll Z8-k.26-28

John Galt: Eben Erskine; or the traveller London: Richard Bentley, 1833. Sp Coll h.2.10-12 and Sp Coll Z6-c.32-34

Andrew Glass: Tales and traditions of Scotland Glasgow: Printed by Hay Nisbet, 1878. Sp Coll Z1-b.20

G. R. Gleig: The subaltern's log book: including anecdotes of well known military characters London: James Ridgway, 1828. Sp Coll Z5-i.15-16

Elizabeth Hamilton: The cottagers of Glenburnie: a tale for the farmer's inglenook Edinburgh: Printed for Laing and Forbes; London: Longman and Co., T. Cadell, and G. & W.B. Whittaker, 1832. Sp Coll DK.12.10 and Sp Coll Z6-d.32

James Hogg: The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1824. Sp Coll Z2-f.25

C. I. Johnstone: Nights of the round table, or, Stories of Aunt Jane and her friends Edinburgh: Printed by John Johnstone, 1832. Sp Coll Z8-m.11

J. G.  Lockhart: Some passages in the life of Mr. Adam Blair Edinburgh: William Blackwood; London: T. Cadell, 1822. Sp Coll Mu7-e.3 and Sp Coll Z3-g.25

Neil Munro: Para Handy and other tales Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons Ltd., 1931. Sp Coll Z1-a.21

Margaret Oliphant: A little pilgrim in the unseen London: Macmillan and Co., 1888. Sp Coll Z9-b.32

David Macbeth Moir: The life of Mansie Wauch, tailor in Dalkeith, written by himself Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1839. Sp Coll Z8-l.3

Caroline Lucy Scott: Flirtation London: Henry Colburn, 1828. Sp Coll Z1-g.13-15

Sir Walter Scott: St Valentine's Day: or, The fair maid of Perth Edinburgh: Printed for Cadell and Co., 1828. Sp Coll Z4-f.24-26

G. J. Whyte-Melville: Contraband, or, A losing hazard London: Chapman and Hall, [18??] Sp Coll Z10-c.5

Extended bibliography of  Scottish fiction  in the Novel Collection

A complete listing of Scottish fiction in the collection (listed alphabetically by author) has been mounted on its own page: go to extended bibliography of Scottish fiction page.

Related sites

Association for Scottish Literary Studies:

Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation:

Bibliography of Scottish Literature: