WALTER SCOTT ( 1771 - 1832 )
He is considered to be the father of the historical novel and , as such, of great importance to the development of European Literature. Scott' s biography accounts for many of the themes of his works: his long - lasting attachment to old values, 929g62j the disintegration of the clans, and the idea of living in an era of great change.
He was born in Edinburgh when the town was growing and falling under the influence of the new class of merchants and businessmen. Both his father and his mother came of old Border families. As a young child he was sent into the country because of poor health. There he learned the crucial events of the Scottish history and he was very interested in them. When his health improved, he attended the High School in Edinburgh and then he studied law at the University.
His studies and his legal practice introduced him to a great variety of human beings. He had the gift of being universally well liked and he could always tell a funny story.
He began his literary activity as a poet translating from German ballads and writing romantic verse tales, in which he showed his strong knowledge of Scottish life. When Byron's childe Harold appeared, he started a new literary career as a novelist, beginning with 'Waverley'.
In 1797 he married Charlotte Charpentier and about in 1810 he bought a property on the river Tweed and spent a fortune building the castle of Abbottsford. The expenses together with financial losses put a heavy strain on his career and life. He went on writing a lot to meet his debt until his death in 1832.
Principal poems: Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border
The Lay of the Last Minstrel
The Lady of the Lake
Principal Novels: Waverley
The Bride of Lammermoor
Other Works: Life and Works of John Dryden
Life and works of Jonathan Swift
The Life of Napoleon
The principal features of his novels are:
1. the union of tradition and romance
2. the union of historical events and imaginary heroes
3. The vitality of the past.
WAVERLEY: is Scott's first novel and the first historical novel in English Literature. It is set in the period off the Jacobite uprisings.
IVANHOE: is a story of the hostilities between Saxons and Normans during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. Wilfred of Ivanhoe and Lady Rowena are in love, but Cedric, Ivanhoe's father banishes him from the kingdom. So Ivanhoe joins Richard the Lionheart on a crusade. In England, however, King Richard's brother John, is planning with Norman nobles to depose him. Consequently the king and Ivanhoe return to England and at a great tournament Ivanhoe defeats John's Norman knights. Ivanhoe, wounded, is taken with Cedric, Rowena, Athelstane, a Jew Isaac, and his beautiful daughter Rebecca to the Norman Front-deBoef's castle where they are imprisoned. King Richard and Locksley (Robin Hood) free all the prisoners except Rebecca, who is carried off by the Norman Bois-Guilbert. Rebecca is accused of Witchcraft. Ivanhoe fought for her salvation against Bois-Guilbert, who dies. In the end Rowena and Ivanhoe are reunited and Rebecca, although in love with Ivanhoe, leaves England with his father.
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