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Walter Scott

Walter Scott: The Making of the Novelist

Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 223
  • Book Info
    Walter Scott
    Book Description:

    This study of the first and major phase of Scott's career as a novelist reconsiders his act of secession from his own literary past and examines the interconnections between Scott the antiquarian and editor, Scott the romantic poet, and Scott the novelist.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8321-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Textual Note
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. 1 Editorial Strategies: The Minstrelsy and the Lay
    (pp. 3-18)

    The story of the remarkable success ofWaverleyis well known. Lockhart’s biography contains the classic account – a thousand copies sold within five weeks of the publication date of 7 July 1814, a second edition of two thousand sold within seven weeks more, four editions in all within the first six months, and many more in the years that followed. But Scott did not, like Byron, wake one morning and find himself famous. He already enjoyed an enormous reputation as the author ofThe Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion,andThe Lady of the Lake,and in one sense,...

  6. 2 Variations on a Method: Marmion to Rokeby
    (pp. 19-34)

    To move from theMinstrelsytoSir Tristremand on to theLayis to have an increasing sense of each stage of a career leading surely to the next, of Scott always keeping one foot firmly on the old ground as he steps forward to the new. And the pattern apparently continues, success with a verse romance in 1805 prompting the commencement, as ironic response, of a novel whose young hero suffers from a surfeit of such works. One can even argue that it was the experience of editing and completing Strutt’s turgid historical novelQueenhoo-Hallthat made Scott...

  7. 3 Waverley: Romance as Education
    (pp. 35-58)

    Waverley; or,Tis Sixty Years Sincewas begun in 1805, and some additions were probably made to the first volume in 1810; the remaining two volumes were only completed (after the rediscovery of the manuscript during the famous search for fishing tackle) in 1814 – by which date it is arguable that Scott understood the narrative situation of his hero far better than he had nine years earlier.¹ This is hard to establish absolutely since some of the basic elements of the final pattern are already present in the opening seven chapters that were composed in 1805, but it seems plain...

  8. 4 Guy Mannering: A Tale of Private Life
    (pp. 59-84)

    WhenWaverleywas announced for publication in 1810, the year in which Scott first thought of completing it, no mention was made of the author’s name. But when the book itself appeared anonymously in 1814, something altogether more deliberate and self-conscious was involved than the adoption of a common practice with respect to works of fiction. A remarkable instance of the exploitation of anonymity had already occurred in Scott’s career early the previous year, when, very shortly after the publication ofRokeby,he hurried into printThe Bridal of Triermainin the hope of deceiving the world in general, and...

  9. 5 The Antiquary: Reading the Text of the Past
    (pp. 85-106)

    The gestation ofThe Antiquarybelongs to one of the busiest years in Scott’s life. To read his letters from the early spring of 1815 to the spring of 1816 is to be overwhelmed by a sense of constant public activity, unremitting energy, and sheer comprehensive appetite. Whether he was playing the anonymity game with the Prince Regent, trading compliments with Byron, hob-nobbing with Wellington and the Czar of Russia, engaging in detailed legal arrangements about a young friend’s marriage settlement, or putting in bids for more land around Abbotsford, no effort was spared and all possibilities seemed open. Since...

  10. 6 The Black Dwarf and Old Mortality: Ending Right
    (pp. 107-130)

    The absence from the title-page ofTales of My Landlordof any reference to the Author ofWaverleywas no accident. In authorizing the Ballantynes to find him new publishers¹ – who were not to be let into the Waverley secret – Scott took the anonymity game one stage further, creating for the new series of narratives their own special authorial apparatus. He gleefully reported the new twist to his actor friend Daniel Terry:

    To give the go-by to the public, I have doubled and leaped into my form, like a hare in snow: that is, I have changed my publisher, and...

  11. 7 Rob Roy: The Limits of Frankness
    (pp. 131-150)

    The publication ofRob Roymarked a crucial stage in the relationship between Scott and the publisher Archibald Constable. Their association, which commenced in 1802 with the publication of theMinstrelsy,had had its ups and downs over the years, the most important breach occurring in 1808–9 when Scott ceased to contribute to Constable’sEdinburgh Review,actively involved himself in the founding of the rivalQuarterly,and helped set up the firm of John Ballantyne and Co as a publishing house complementary to the printing firm run by James Ballantyne. Although the Ballantyne publishing venture had its successes – notably...

  12. 8 The Heart of Midlothian: The Pattern Reversed
    (pp. 151-168)

    Blackwood and Murray had brought out the first series ofTales of My Landlordin 1816, but Scott’s disillusionment with them as a publishing team had only been confirmed by his satisfaction with Constable’s handling ofRob Roy.Not only, therefore, did he come to terms with Constable for the second series ofTales of My Landlord;he also transferred to him the rights for the first series, beginning with the fifth edition of 1819. Henceforward, indeed, until the crash of 1826, all his novels appeared over the Constable imprint.

    The new tale,The Heart of Midlothian,retained the Gandercleuch...

  13. 9 The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of Montrose: The End of the Beginning
    (pp. 169-192)

    When the third series ofTales of My Landlordwas published in June 1819, Scott was ill and believed by many people in Edinburgh to be actually on his deathbed. The new volumes were thus viewed from the first as something set apart, potentially destined to be the final contribution to the wonderful sequence that had begun withWaverleyjust five years earlier – and indeed,The Bride of Lammermoor,the longer and more important of the two new tales, has continued to enjoy a special position in the Scott canon as a work somehow different and distinct from both its...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 193-218)
  15. Index
    (pp. 219-223)