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James Beattie poem found in Sir Walter Scott's library

25th May 2011

A 9,000-word poem by the Scottish scholar James Beattie has been uncovered in a library owned by Sir Walter Scott.

'The Grotesquiad' has been described as a 'significant' find by literary historians and is the latest in a series of discoveries at Abbotsford House in the Scottish Borders, where the Faculty of Advocates is currently carrying out online cataloguing of the works there.

Literary lecturer Dr Rhona Brown told the BBC the find was 'exhilarating for many reasons' and an 'important milestone' in the study of 18th century Scottish literature.

The poem charts the life of a warrior known as Grotesquo, who sees himself as a Don Quixote figure but is hampered by his fondness for alcohol.

Lindsay Levy, rare books librarian at the Faculty of Advocates, said finding a book or a manuscript without an author has become a 'frequent challenge' encountered during the cataloguing of the Abbotsford library.

Earlier this month, researchers indexing a collection of works by Anthony Burgess discovered a large amount of unpublished material including supernatural short stories and an unused screenplay for A Clockwork Orange.

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