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The Story of the Pivotal Figure behind Sir Walter Scott's Later Masterpieces
In the Warmth of the Limelight relies on primary materials from archival and secondary sources to uncover the impact of the John Gibson-Sir Walter Scott relationship during Scott's final decade. Scott was at the peak of his career as an internationally acclaimed poet/author/celebrity when Gibson becomes his lawyer. Scott is then faced with a devastating financial catastrophe followed by personal and family tragedies and enlists Gibson to help him respond. Gibson's 1871 Reminiscences of Sir Walter Scott yields glimpses of their partnership that occurred thereafter. They decide Scott will recover entirely from his misfortunes with honor via a trust... and by writing! Limelight strives to complete their story.
A prologue tells how Gibson-Scott correspondence, long private for over 100 years after Scott's death, inspired the project. Gibson and Scott's backgrounds are then examined revealing parallels in their experiences that lead to their subsequent association. Scott's role in enlisting Gibson as lawyer for himself and guardians of the fifth Duke of Buccleuch is brought to light for the first time. Gibson's personal and professional functions expand as Scott's heroic response to adversity then unfolds. Gibson encounters added complexities in overseeing Scott's partner in a printing business, James Ballantyne, and when Robert Cadell enters as Scott's final publisher. As their personal story develops, an operative perspective of navigating then-new 19th century legal obstacles regarding intellectual property, trusts and others, as well as the fates of Scott, Gibson and the Trust are presented in significant detail.
The concluding portion of Limelight involves the period after Scott's death and the remainder of Gibson's almost fifty-five year career in service to the fifth Duke of Buccleuch. Early Insight is provided into the evolution of a large Scottish law firm that continues today. The depth and breadth of Gibson's involvement in the Buccleuch affairs, including their service to Queen Victoria and her Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel's Privy Council, the Duke's vast entrepreneurial business affairs important for Scotland's growth such as the development of access to steam-powered transportation associated with the Granton Harbor project, etc., are highlighted.
Limelight provides a view of Scott's final decade not comprehensively represented in published literature - that of lawyer John Gibson, WS, as the person closest to his affairs during that time. The fascinating personal story presents real events unfolding and suspenseful like a work of fiction. What emerges is a complex and moving portrait of Gibson as a nineteenth century middle-class legal professional serving two of the most noted Scots of their day to meet diverse historic challenges. It is intended to have broad readership appeal from those curious about Sir Walter Scott, British, literary or legal history to readers with academic interest and has messages that continue to resonate today.
The Author: A descendant of John Gibson, Robert Gibson Alloo is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, St. Louis University School of Medicine and member of The American College of Physicians. Proud of his Scottish heritage and a passionate scholar of British history, Alloo lives in California.