Walter Scott  

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"[A Romance is a] fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents; [...] being thus opposed to the kindred term Novel, [which is] “a fictitious narrative, differing from the Romance, because the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events, and the modern state of society.”--"Essay on Romance" (c. 1815) by Walter Scott

"Thus was the inventor, or at least first distinguished artist who exhibited the fantastic or supernatural grotesque in his compositions, so nearly on the verge of actual insanity, as to be afraid of the beings his own fancy created. It is no wonder that to a mind so vividly accessible to the influence of the imagination, so little under the dominion of sober reason, such a numerous train of ideas should occur in which fancy had a large share and reason none at all. In fact, the grotesque in his compositions partly resembles the arabesque in painting, in which is introduced the most strange and complicated monsters, resembling centaurs, griffins, sphinxes, chimeras, rocs, and all other creatures of romantic imagination."--"On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition" (1827) by Sir Walter Scott

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Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world in the 19th century. He is best-known for Ivanhoe and his "On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition" (1827), his extended discussion of E. T. A. Hoffmann and literary supernaturalism.

Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

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 and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire.

A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32).

See also


  • 1814–1817: The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland – a work co-authored by Luke Clennell and John Greig with Scott's contribution consisting of the substantial introductory essay, originally published in 2 volumes from 1814 to 1817
  • 1815–1824: Essays on Chivalry, Romance, and Drama – a supplement to the 1815–1824 editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica
  • 1816: Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk
  • 1819–1826: Provincial Antiquities of Scotland
  • 1821–1824: Lives of the Novelists
  • 1825–1832: The Journal of Sir Walter Scott — first published in 1890
  • 1826: The Letters of Malachi Malagrowther
  • 1827: The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte
  • 1828: Religious Discourses. By a Layman
  • 1828: Tales of a Grandfather; Being Stories Taken from Scottish History – the 1st instalment 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 instalment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather
  • 1830: The History of Scotland: Volume II
  • 1830: Tales of a Grandfather; Being Stories Taken from Scottish History – the 3rd instalment 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 instalment from the series, Tales of a Grandfather
  • 1831: Tales of a Grandfather: The History of France (Second Series) — unfinished; published 1996

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