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Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 March 1971



EVEN TO THOSE who profess to have made a study of Scottish literature, Sharpe's name is comparatively unknown. He is often thought of as an obscure antiquarian friend of Scott's, the original of Malachi Malagrowther, an eccentric in a city always famed for its eccentrics. Yet one cannot go very far in the study of ballads and of Scottish popular poetry without coming across his name: it was he who contributed one of the finest and most tersely expressed of all the ballads to Scott's Minstrelsy—‘The Twa Corbies’—as well as giving Scott his version of ‘The Douglas Tragedy’ and ‘Bessie Bell and Mary Gray’. A great deal of the material in Chambers's Popular Rhymes of Scotland—that pioneering work which, like most of Robert Chambers's, has not received the attention it deserves—was provided by Sharpe. In the field of demonology and the study of witchcraft, too, he was an authority: his edition of Law's Memorialls was enriched by copious and erudite footnotes and in his introduction, amounting to 254 quarto pages, he wrote a lively and informative historical survey of witchcraft in Scotland from the earliest times until the end of the eighteenth century.


Caird, J.B. (1971), "Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe", Library Review, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 75-80.




Copyright © 1971, MCB UP Limited