SIR WALTER SCOTT, 1ST BARONET, FRSE (15 August 1771 – 21 September
1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet. Many of
his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of
Scottish literature . Famous titles include
Although primarily remembered for his extensive literary works and
his political engagement, Scott was an advocate , judge and legal
administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his
writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session
A prominent member of the
* 1 Life and works
* 1.1 Early days * 1.2 Meeting with Blacklock and Burns * 1.3 Start of literary career, marriage and family * 1.4 Poetry * 1.5 Novelism * 1.6 Recovery of the Crown Jewels, baronetcy and ceremonial pageantry * 1.7 Financial problems and death
* 2 Personal life * 3 Abbotsford
* 4 Legacy
* 4.1 Later assessment * 4.2 Memorials and commemoration * 4.3 Literature by other authors
* 5 Bibliography
* 5.1 Novels * 5.2 Poetry * 5.3 Short stories * 5.4 Plays * 5.5 Non-fiction
* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links
LIFE AND WORKS
Scott's childhood at Sandyknowes, in the shadow of Smailholm Tower , introduced him to the tales and folklore of the Scottish Borders .
The son of a
Writer to the Signet (solicitor ), Scott was born in
1771 in his Presbyterian family's third-floor flat on College Wynd in
the Old Town of
In 1778, Scott returned to
MEETING WITH BLACKLOCK AND BURNS
Scott began studying classics at the University of
After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh.
As a lawyer's clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands
directing an eviction. He was admitted to the
Faculty of Advocates in
1792. He had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of
Fettercairn, who married Scott's friend Sir William Forbes, 7th
START OF LITERARY CAREER, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
A copy of Scott's Minstrelsy in the National Museum of Scotland
As a boy, youth and young man, Scott was fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders. He was an obsessive collector of stories, and developed an innovative method of recording what he heard at the feet of local story-tellers using carvings on twigs, to avoid the disapproval of those who believed that such stories were neither for writing down nor for printing. At the age of 25 he began to write professionally, translating works from German, his first publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Gottfried August Bürger in 1796. He then published an idiosyncratic three-volume set of collected ballads of his adopted home region, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border . This was the first sign from a literary standpoint of his interest in Scottish history.
As a result of his early polio infection, Scott had a pronounced limp. He was described in 1820 as tall, well formed (except for one ankle and foot which made him walk lamely), neither fat nor thin, with forehead very high, nose short, upper lip long and face rather fleshy, complexion fresh and clear, eyes very blue, shrewd and penetrating, with hair now silvery white. Although a determined walker, on horseback he experienced greater freedom of movement. Unable to consider a military career, Scott enlisted as a volunteer in the 1st Lothian and Border yeomanry .
On a trip to the
After their third son was born in 1801, they moved to a spacious
three-storey house built for Scott at 39 North Castle Street. This
remained Scott's base in
Scott's father, also Walter (1729–1799), was a Freemason, being a member of Lodge St David, No.36 (Edinburgh), and Scott also became a Freemason in his father's Lodge in 1801, albeit only after the death of his father.
Sir Walter Scott, novelist and poet - painted by Sir William Allan
In 1796, Scott's friend James Ballantyne founded a printing press in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Through Ballantyne, Scott was able to publish his first works, including "Glenfinlas " and "The Eve of St. John", and his poetry then began to bring him to public attention. In 1805, The Lay of the Last Minstrel captured wide public imagination, and his career as a writer was established in spectacular fashion.
The way was long, the wind was cold, The Minstrel was infirm and old — The Lay of the Last Minstrel (first lines)
He published many other poems over the next ten years, including the
popular The Lady of the Lake , printed in 1810 and set in the
Trossachs . Portions of the German translation of this work were set
to music by
Beethoven's opus 108 "Twenty-Five Scottish Songs " includes 3 folk songs whose words are by Walter Scott.
Marmion , published in 1808, produced lines that have become proverbial. Canto VI. Stanza 17 reads:
Yet Clare's sharp questions must I shun Must separate Constance from the nun Oh! what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive! A Palmer too! No wonder why I felt rebuked beneath his eye.
In 1809 Scott persuaded
James Ballantyne and his brother to move to
Scott was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Duddington and sat in the General Assembly for a time as representative elder of the burgh of Selkirk.
When the lease of Ashestiel expired in 1811 Scott bought Cartley Hole
Farm, on the south bank of the
In 1813 Scott was offered the position of Poet Laureate . He
declined, due to concerns that "such an appointment would be a
poisoned chalice", as the Laureateship had fallen into disrepute, due
to the decline in quality of work suffered by previous title holders,
", as a succession of poetasters had churned out conventional and
obsequious odes on royal occasions." He sought advice from the Duke
of Buccleuch , who counseled him to retain his literary independence,
and the position went to Scott's friend,
A Legend of Montrose , illustration from the 1872 edition
Although Scott had attained worldwide celebrity through his poetry,
he soon tried his hand at documenting his researches into the oral
tradition of the
There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, publishing the novels under the name "Author of Waverley" or as "Tales of..." with no author. Among those familiar with his poetry, his identity became an open secret, but Scott persisted in maintaining the façade, perhaps because he thought his old-fashioned father would disapprove of his engaging in such a trivial pursuit as novel writing. During this time Scott became known by the nickname "The Wizard of the North". In 1815 he was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent , who wanted to meet the "Author of Waverley". "Edgar and Lucie at Mermaiden's well" by Charles Robert Leslie (1886), after Sir Walter Scott's Bride of Lammermoor. Lucie is wearing a full plaid .
Scott's 1819 series Tales of my Landlord is sometimes considered a subset of the Waverley novels and was intended to illustrate aspects of Scottish regional life. Among the best known is The Bride of Lammermoor , a fictionalized version of an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family that took place in the Lammermuir Hills in 1669. In the novel, Lucie Ashton and the nobly born but now dispossessed and impoverished Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows. But the Ravenswoods and the wealthy Ashtons, who now own the former Ravenswood lands, are enemies, and Lucie's mother forces her daughter to break her engagement to Edgar and marry the wealthy Sir Arthur Bucklaw. Lucie falls into a depression and on their wedding night stabs the bridegroom, succumbs to insanity, and dies. In 1821, French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix painted a portrait depicting himself as the melancholy, disinherited Edgar Ravenswood. The prolonged, climactic coloratura mad scene for Lucia in Donizetti 's 1835 bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor is based on what in the novel were just a few bland sentences.
Tales of my Landlord includes the now highly regarded novel Old
Mortality , set in 1679–89 against the backdrop of the ferocious
anti-Covenanting campaign of the
It is grievous to think that those valiant barons, to whose stand against the crown the liberties of England were indebted for their existence, should themselves have been such dreadful oppressors, and capable of excesses contrary not only to the laws of England, but to those of nature and humanity. But, alas ...fiction itself can hardly reach the dark reality of the horrors of the period. (Chapter 24.33)
The institution of the
Norman saw on English oak. On English neck a Norman yoke; Norman spoon to English dish, And England ruled as Normans wish; Blithe world in England never will be more, Till England's rid of all the four. (Ivanhoe, Ch. xxvii)
Although on the surface an entertaining escapist romance, alert contemporary readers would have quickly recognised the political subtext of Ivanhoe, which appeared immediately after the English Parliament, fearful of French-style revolution in the aftermath of Waterloo , had passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension acts of 1817 and 1818 and other extremely repressive measures, and when traditional English Charter rights versus revolutionary human rights was a topic of discussion.
RECOVERY OF THE CROWN JEWELS, BARONETCY AND CEREMONIAL PAGEANTRY
Rediscovering the 'lost' Honours of Scotland in 1818 George IV landing at Leith in 1822
Scott's fame grew as his explorations and interpretations of Scottish
history and society captured popular imagination. Impressed by this,
the Prince Regent (the future George IV) gave Scott permission to
conduct a search for the Crown Jewels ("
Honours of Scotland "). During
the years of the Protectorate under Cromwell the Crown Jewels had been
hidden away, but had subsequently been used to crown Charles II . They
were not used to crown subsequent monarchs, but were regularly taken
to sittings of Parliament, to represent the absent monarch, until the
Act of Union 1707 . Thereafter, the honours were stored in Edinburgh
Castle, but the large locked box in which they were stored was not
opened for more than 100 years, and stories circulated that they had
been "lost" or removed. In 1818, Scott and a small team of military
men opened the box, and "unearthed" the honours from the Crown Room in
the depths of
After George's accession to the throne, the city council of Edinburgh invited Scott, at the King's behest, to stage-manage the 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland . With only three weeks for planning and execution, Scott created a spectacular and comprehensive pageant, designed not only to impress the King, but also in some way to heal the rifts that had destabilised Scots society. He used the event to contribute to the drawing of a line under an old world that pitched his homeland into regular bouts of bloody strife. He, along with his "production team", mounted what in modern days could be termed a PR event, in which the King was dressed in tartan , and was greeted by his people, many of whom were also dressed in similar tartan ceremonial dress. This form of dress, proscribed after the 1745 rebellion against the English, became one of the seminal, potent and ubiquitous symbols of Scottish identity.
In his novel Kenilworth, Elizabeth I is welcomed to the castle of that name by means of an elaborate pageant, the details of which Scott was well qualified to itemize.
Much of Scott's autograph work shows an almost stream-of-consciousness approach to writing. He included little in the way of punctuation in his drafts, leaving such details to the printers to supply. He eventually acknowledged in 1827 that he was the author of the Waverley Novels .
FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND DEATH
Sir Walter Scott's grave at Dryburgh Abbey
In 1825 a UK-wide banking crisis resulted in the collapse of the Ballantyne printing business, of which Scott was the only partner with a financial interest; the company's debts of £130,000 (equivalent to £9,600,000 in 2015) caused his very public ruin. Rather than declare himself bankrupt, or to accept any kind of financial support from his many supporters and admirers (including the king himself), he placed his house and income in a trust belonging to his creditors, and determined to write his way out of debt. He kept up his prodigious output of fiction, as well as producing a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte , until 1831. By then his health was failing, but he nevertheless undertook a grand tour of Europe, and was welcomed and celebrated wherever he went. He returned to Scotland and, in September 1832, during the epidemic in Scotland that year, died of typhus at Abbotsford, the home he had designed and had built, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. (His wife, Lady Scott, had died in 1826 and was buried as an Episcopalian.) Two Presbyterian ministers and one Episcopalian officiated at his funeral. Scott died owing money, but his novels continued to sell, and the debts encumbering his estate were discharged shortly after his death.
Scott's eldest son Lt Walter Scott, inherited his father's estate and possessions. He married Jane Jobson, only daughter of William Jobson of Lochore (died 1822) and his wife Rachel Stuart (died 1863) on 3 February 1825.
Scott, Sr.'s lawyer from at least 1814 was Hay Donaldson WS (died
1822), who was also agent to the Duke of Buccleuch. Scott was
Donaldson's proposer when he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
His distant cousin was the poet Randall Swingler .
When Scott was a boy, he sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose, where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the Battle of Melrose (1526).
During the summers from 1804, Scott made his home at the large house
of Ashestiel, on the south bank of the
It is estimated that the building cost Scott more than £25,000 (equivalent to £1,900,000 in 2015). More land was purchased until Scott owned nearly 1,000 acres (4.0 km2). A Roman road with a ford near Melrose used in olden days by the abbots of Melrose suggested the name of Abbotsford. Scott was buried in Dryburgh Abbey , where his wife had earlier been interred. Nearby is a large statue of William Wallace , one of Scotland's many romanticised historical figures. Abbotsford later gave its name to the Abbotsford Club , founded in 1834 in memory of Sir Walter Scott.
Part of the Politics series on
* 1st Earl of Clarendon
* Roger L\'Estrange
* 1st Earl of Rochester
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* 3rd Earl of Bute
* 1st Duke of Wellington
* Walter Scott
G. K. Chesterton
* v * t * e
Although he continued to be extremely popular and widely read, both at home and abroad, Scott's critical reputation declined in the last half of the 19th century as serious writers turned from romanticism to realism, and Scott began to be regarded as an author suitable for children. This trend accelerated in the 20th century. For example, in his classic study Aspects of the Novel (1927), E. M. Forster harshly criticized Scott's clumsy and slapdash writing style, "flat" characters, and thin plots. In contrast, the novels of Scott's contemporary Jane Austen , once appreciated only by the discerning few (including, as it happened, Scott himself) rose steadily in critical esteem, though Austen, as a female writer, was still faulted for her narrow ("feminine") choice of subject matter, which, unlike Scott, avoided the grand historical themes traditionally viewed as masculine.
Nevertheless, Scott's importance as an innovator continued to be
recognized. He was acclaimed as the inventor of the genre of the
modern historical novel (which others trace to
Jane Porter , whose
work in the genre predates Scott's) and the inspiration for enormous
numbers of imitators and genre writers both in Britain and on the
European continent. In the cultural sphere, Scott's Waverley novels
played a significant part in the movement (begun with James Macpherson
Ossian cycle) in rehabilitating the public perception of the
Scottish Highlands and its culture, which had been formerly suppressed
as barbaric, and viewed in the southern mind as a breeding ground of
hill bandits, religious fanaticism, and Jacobite rebellions . Scott
served as chairman of the Royal Society of
At the time Scott wrote, Scotland was poised to move away from an era of socially divisive clan warfare to a modern world of literacy and industrial capitalism. Through the medium of Scott's novels, the violent religious and political conflicts of the country's recent past could be seen as belonging to history—which Scott defined, as the subtitle of Waverley ("'Tis Sixty Years Since") indicates, as something that happened at least 60 years ago. Scott's advocacy of objectivity and moderation and his strong repudiation of political violence on either side also had a strong, though unspoken, contemporary resonance in an era when many conservative English speakers lived in mortal fear of a revolution in the French style on British soil. Scott's orchestration of King George IV\'s visit to Scotland , in 1822, was a pivotal event intended to inspire a view of his home country that, in his view, accentuated the positive aspects of the past while allowing the age of quasi-medieval blood-letting to be put to rest, while envisioning a more useful, peaceful future.
After Scott's work had been essentially unstudied for many decades, a
revival of critical interest began from the 1960s.
favoured discontinuous narratives and the introduction of the "first
person", yet they were more favourable to Scott's work than Modernist
F. R. Leavis had disdained Scott, seeing him as a
thoroughly bad novelist and a thoroughly bad influence (The Great
MEMORIALS AND COMMEMORATION
Scott Monument on Edinburgh's
During his lifetime, Scott's portrait was painted by Sir Edwin
Landseer and fellow-Scots Sir
Henry Raeburn and
James Eckford Lauder .
In Edinburgh, the 61.1-metre-tall
Victorian Gothic spire of the Scott
Monument was designed by
George Meikle Kemp . It was completed in
1844, 12 years after Scott's death, and dominates the south side of
Numerous Masonic Lodges have been named after him and his novels. For example: Lodge Sir Walter Scott, No.859, (Perth, Australia) and Lodge Waverly, No.597, (Edinburgh, Scotland).
The annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was created in 2010 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch , whose ancestors were closely linked to Sir Walter Scott. At £25,000 it is one of the largest prizes in British literature. The award has been presented at Scott's historic home, Abbotsford House.
Scott has been credited with rescuing the Scottish banknote . In
1826, there was outrage in Scotland at the attempt of Parliament to
prevent the production of banknotes of less than five pounds. Scott
wrote a series of letters to the
During and immediately after World War I there was a movement
spearheaded by President Wilson and other eminent people to inculcate
patriotism in American school children , especially immigrants, and to
stress the American connection with the literature and institutions of
the "mother country" of Great Britain, using selected readings in
middle school textbooks. Scott's
A bust of Scott is in the Hall of Heroes of the National Wallace
LITERATURE BY OTHER AUTHORS
Oh that tedious author, a dusty exhumer of chronicles! A fastidious mass of descriptions of bric-a-brac ... and castoff things of every sort, armor, tableware, furniture, gothic inns, and melodramatic castles where lifeless mannequins stalk about, dressed in leotards.
In the novella, however, Cramer proves as deluded a romantic as any hero in one of Scott's novels.
Anne Brontë 's
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
In a speech delivered at Salem, Massachusetts, on 6 January 1860, to
raise money for the families of the executed abolitionist John Brown
and his followers,
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In his 1870 memoir, Army Life in a Black Regiment, New England
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
According to his daughter Eleanor , Scott was "an author to whom Karl Marx again and again returned, whom he admired and knew as well as he did Balzac and Fielding".
In his 1883
Life on the Mississippi ,
The idyllic Cape Cod retreat of suffragists Verena Tarrant and Olive Chancellor in Henry James' The Bostonians (1886) is called Marmion, evoking what James considered the Quixotic idealism of these social reformers.
He was reading something that moved him very much ... He was tossing the pages over. He was acting it – perhaps he was thinking himself the person in the book. She wondered what book it was. Oh, it was one of old Sir Walter’s she saw, adjusting the shade of her lamp so that the light fell on her knitting. For Charles Tansley had been saying (she looked up as if she expected to hear the crash of books on the floor above) that people don’t read Scott any more. Then her husband thought, “That’s what they’ll say of me;” so he went and got one of those books ... feeling for straight forward simple things, these fishermen, the poor old crazed creature in Mucklebackit’s cottage made him feel so vigorous, so relieved of something that he felt roused and triumphant and could not choke back his tears ... It fortified him. He clean forgot all the little rubs and digs of the evening ... and his being so irritable with his wife and so touchy and minding when they passed his books over as if they didn’t exist at all. Raising the book a little to hide his face, he let them fall and shook his head from side to side and forgot himself completely (but not one or two reflections about morality and French novels and English novels and Scott’s hands being tied but his view perhaps being as true as the other view), forgot his own bothers and failures completely in poor Steenie’s drowning and Mucklebackit’s sorrow (that was Scott at his best) and the astonishing delight and feeling of vigor that it gave him. Well, let them improve upon that, he thought as he finished the chapter ... The whole of life did not consist in going to bed with a woman, he thought, returning to Scott and Balzac, to the English novel and the French novel.
In 1951, science-fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote Breeds There a Man...? , a short story with a title alluding vividly to Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805).
To Kill a Mockingbird
In Knights of the Sea (2010) by Canadian author
Paul Marlowe , there
are several quotes from and references to Marmion , as well as an inn
The Waverley Novels is the title given to the long series of Scott novels released from 1814 to 1832 which takes its name from the first novel, Waverley . The following is a chronological list of the entire series:
* 1814: Waverley
* 1831–1832: The Siege of Malta – a finished novel published posthumously in 2008 * 1832: Bizarro – an unfinished novel (or novella) published posthumously in 2008
Many of the short poems or songs released by Scott were originally not separate pieces but parts of longer poems interspersed throughout his novels, tales, and dramas.
* 1796: "The Chase" – an English-language translation of the German-language poem by Gottfried August Bürger entitled "Der Wilde Jäger" (or, "The Wild Huntsmen", its more common English translation), first of the translations and imitations from German ballads by Scott * 1802–1803: " The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border " * 1805: " The Lay of the Last Minstrel " * 1806: "Ballads and Lyrical Pieces" * 1808: "Marmion " * 1810: "The Lady of the Lake " * 1811: " The Vision of Don Roderick " * 1813: " The Bridal of Triermain " * 1813: "Rokeby " * 1815: " The Field of Waterloo " * 1815: " The Lord of the Isles " * 1817: " Harold the Dauntless "
* 1827: "The Highland Widow", "The Two Drovers", and "The Surgeon's Daughter" – the 1st installment from the series, Chronicles of the Canongate * 1828: "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror", "The Tapestried Chamber", and "Death of the Laird's Jock" – from the series, The Keepsake Stories
* 1799: Goetz of Berlichingen, with the Iron Hand: A Tragedy – an
English-language translation of the 1773 German-language play by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
* 1796 Translations Being Stories Taken from Scottish History – the 1st installment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather * 1829: The History of Scotland: Volume I * 1829: Tales of a Grandfather; Being Stories Taken from Scottish History – the 2nd installment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather * 1830: Essays on Ballad Poetry * 1830: The History of Scotland: Volume II * 1830: Tales of a Grandfather; Being Stories Taken from Scottish History – the 3rd installment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather * 1830: Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft * 1831: Tales of a Grandfather; Being Stories Taken from the History of France – the 4th installment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather
Wikiquote has quotations related to: WALTER SCOTT
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* ^ "Family Background". Retrieved 2011-04-09.
* ^ A B C D E
* ^ See Amy Witherbee, in "Habeas Corpus: British Imaginations of Power in Walter Scott's Old Mortality", New Literary History 39 (2008): 355–67, writes:
By the 1670s, conﬂicts between religious dissidents and the Stuart
Crown had given way to a Crown policy of seizing and imprisoning
opponents without recourse to the courts. In 1679, this policy of
using extrajudicial imprisonments to quell rebellion ﬁnally provoked
* ^ A B "
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