Adventurous Scots: Late Victorian Writers of Empire


Scottish writers in the Victorian period faced a dilemma. Through industrialisation and the Act of Union, Scotland had been fully assimilated into the United Kingdom and the British Empire. Scots wanting to get ahead were wise to move to London or head out into the far-flung reaches of the British Empire to make a name for themselves. In following this path, Scottish writers abandoned Scotland as a subject and invented a new genre of imperial adventure through which indirectly reflected on their experience of Scotland.

This day school focuses on two Anglo-Scottish writers who took advantage of the new ability to travel and see the world to write popular stories of adventure. R.L Stevenson set stories in Edinburgh, San Francisco and Samoa, but Treasure Island finds him turning Scotland into a land of adventure which is both realistic and fantastic. Meanwhile, Arthur Conan Doyle transplanted his Edinburgh experiences to London and created Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, whose clients come from all over the globe. Their writing will be placed in the context of the crisis of the British Empire and the question of Scottish identity. 

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 UTC on 10 January 2024.

Programme details

Registration at Rewley House reception (in-person attendees only)

Introduction to Scottish Victorianism


From Edinburgh to Samoa: the global adventures of R.L. Stevenson


Arthur Conan Doyle's empire fiction


Scottish or British: the question of identity

End of day


Description Costs
Course Fee - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £99.00
Course Fee - virtual attendance £90.00
Baguette lunch £6.50
Hot lunch (3 courses) £17.60


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Angus McFadzean

Dr Angus McFadzean is the Programme Director of the Oxford University Summer School for Adults and teaches on international programmes at the Department for Continuing Education, specialising in British and American Literature and Film. He is the author of Suburban Fantastic Cinema: Growing Up in the Late Twentieth Century (Columbia University Press, 2019) and the co-editor of James Joyce’s Epiphanies: A Critical Edition, forthcoming from University Press of Florida (2024). He has published on James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon and Hollywood cinema and has taught widely on literature of the late nineteenth early twentieth century, specifically modernism and the works of Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf and WB Yeats.


Please use the 'Book' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this event. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.