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The Lore of Scotland: A guide to Scottish legends [Paperback]

Jennifer Beatrice Westwood , Sophia Kingshill
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 May 2011

Scotland's rich past and varied landscape have inspired an extraordinary array of legends and beliefs, and in The Lore of Scotland Jennifer Westwood and Sophia Kingshill bring together many of the finest and most intriguing: stories of heroes and bloody feuds, tales of giants, fairies, and witches, and accounts of local customs and traditions. Their range extends right across the country, from the Borders with their haunting ballads, via Glasgow, site of St Mungo's miracles, to the fateful battlefield of Culloden, and finally to the Shetlands, home of the seal-people.

More than simply retelling these stories, The Lore of Scotland explores their origins, showing how and when they arose and investigating what basis - if any - they have in historical fact. In the process, it uncovers the events that inspired Shakespeare's Macbeth, probes the claim that Mary King's Close is the most haunted street in Edinburgh, and examines the surprising truth behind the fame of the MacCrimmons, Skye's unsurpassed bagpipers. Moreover, it reveals how generations of Picts, Vikings, Celtic saints and Presbyterian reformers shaped the myriad tales that still circulate, and, from across the country, it gathers together legends of such renowned figures as Sir William Wallace, St Columba, and the great warrior Fingal. The result is a thrilling journey through Scotland's legendary past and an endlessly fascinating account of the traditions and beliefs that play such an important role in its heritage.

Frequently Bought Together

The Lore of Scotland: A guide to Scottish legends + Scottish Myths and Legends (Waverley Scottish Classics) + Folklore of the Scottish Highlands
Price For All Three: 24.37

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; Reprint edition (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099547163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099547167
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Within a few minutes of this book arriving, I had put bookmarks in five places and was roaring through the index. A lovely compilation. It's the real macabre" (Terry Pratchett)

"An enthralling treasure chest of Scottish myths and legends ... With this incredible collection, Westwood and Kingshill have ensured that ... the stories of the past have now been preserved for future generations" (Daily Record)

"This is a well researched book exploring the rich folklore of Scotland ... The breadth and range of this book is wide ... Amusing and erudite, it's also an excellent guide to local variations in Scottish culture" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A fascinating read which looks at mythical beings from kelpies and waterhorses to modern-day vampires" (Scottish Sunday Mail)

"A perfect book to read as the winter nights begin drawing in, and the mists settle, the pipes play and the creatures and myths we can only half imagine come to haunt and intrigue us. An impressively researched book which genuinely will exercise your beliefs" (Gilda O’Neill)

Book Description

A magnificent exploration of Scotland's legendary past

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Long Yet Lacking 14 May 2013
The Lore of Scotland is an encyclopedia of tales from around Scotland organised by place. Lore of Scotland is a 555 page tome filled with small print type, it is incredibly difficult to read from cover to cover. It is broken down into broad regions across Scotland and then alphabetically by location of a tale within each region. There are a dozen or so interludes going into more detail on particular phenomena like Kelpies, Nessie, or Macbeth. A vast range of references are given towards the end of the work but it does seem as though a very small number of sources comprise the vast majority of the information contained in this work.

As a compendium of various myths and legends it is a worthy endeavour. Cataloguing the stories into one work could have made this a useful source for future analysis. For the casual reader it is pretty much a chore. There are so many entries, so many different points listed. It is not exactly a page-turner. The format is also off-putting. The decision to catalogue by location rather than by myth type means there is a lot of repetition. A glaring example is repetition of the explanation of the word 'glamour' - not a word those with an interest in myth will need any introduction to. Despite offering explanation of something unnecessary, there is really very little context or commentary in the catalogue element of the work, it is a seemingly endless list of micro stories.

There are though some really interesting things that come out of the catalguing. One of these is the extraordinarily damaging impact of Christianity on a host culture once it has embedded itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a book to be read cover to cover 15 Feb 2014
By Pb
Format:Kindle Edition
I think it's important to make the point that this isn't a book designed to be read from cover to cover. it's not even really a compendium of folk tales and stories. If you think of it more as an encyclopaedia I think you might have a better idea of it's structure.

It is arranged geographically, and the idea is you look up a place you are interested in and will find local folk stories, haunted houses, strange happenings and superstitions. The stories aren't long (they couldn't be without quadrupling the size of the book), they're more a teaser, to give you the information needed to look elsewhere for the full story, but the coverage seems to be comprehensive. There's an excellent bibliography to help you if you want to dig deeper.

Another useful feature is that with many of the articles the author will take pains to point out that although it is traditionally associated in Scotland with a particular place or person it is actually just a version of another older story from elsewhere, or that there are equivalent stories with different names associated with other parts of Scotland or Europe. The authors are very honest about debunking stories that need it - or highlighting the possible grains of truth in others.

If you're interested in this kind of thing (or intend, like me, to use it as a research tool) then it is a fantastic resource. If you're looking for ghost stories or traditional tales to actually read then maybe best looking elsewhere.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not so easy to read 10 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i found this book a bit disappointing to read - it seems very disjointed. however, it may contain some stories of areas you may know of but it would be more interesting to get the stories first hand.
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 28 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent product, have not had a chance to read it yet, but exactly what i was looking for. will update when i have read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Scots---Folklore 21 May 2012
By CassiesMom - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The product arrived earlier than expected, as ordered. Great book, good for those interested in folklore or history. Purchased this copy as a gift for a history prof. Thanks for the fine service!
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