E is for … the Edge


Yes, with F been and gone, I thought E had got away. Then I picked up my latest Kindle acquisition, The Beginning and End of the World by Robert Crawford (Barlinn Books 2011) .

In the opening chapter,  Crawford’s premise is that St. Andrews’ remote location did much to influence thinking there in the Victorian era and to give it what in modern parlance we might call an ‘edge’. And that’s when it came to me,  Edgecliff, the home of the philosphy department and a building I remember well but whose name had escaped me. Don’t ask me why, because if St. Andrews is the edge of the world, Edgecliff is at its outer limit,  almost as close to the sea as the castle itself.

Edgecliff from seaAnd so did I have edgy and groundbreaking thoughts up there? Sadly, not. Entering my second year I needed to choose another ‘general’ (one year) subject, and although Philosophy was no longer compulsory (as it had been until then) as part of  an M.A., there was nothing else I particularly wanted to do at that point. (Especially as a friend had recommended Gen Phil as being  ‘not too bad’ in terms of workload!)

The lectures were held in one of the bigger lecture halls in the Old Quad, but for tutorials we went to Edgecliff itself, where I confess to spending a lot of time gazing at the view, hoping to look philosophical while wishing myself elsewhere.

Beginning and End of the World coverBut even if I was never going to be a philosopher, it’s thanks to Prof Crawford (whose book I think may crop up here again) for helping me remember that craggy cliff-edge.

Photo credits:
Edgecliff from the scores, by s0ftmachine via Flikr
Edgecliff and The Scores from the sea, with grateful thanks to Hugh La Follette

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