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"Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Edinburgh, the ninth child of a Writer to the
Signet (ie Edinburgh solicitor). Walter was also destined for a modest
career in law. He was temperamentally inclined to the army - but a
disabling attack of infantile paralysis in early childhood blasted his
hopes. Scott gave early evidence of his literary-antiquarian talent. His
ballad collecting resulted in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border
(1802-3). There followed a brilliant career in bestselling narrative
verse. With Byron's eruption on the scene in 1812 Scott apprehended
that he was, as he said, 'beat'. He turned to fiction anonymously with
Waverley (1814), the most influential novel of the century.
Among the 'Scottish' novels that followed were Old Mortality (1816), a
story of the Coventanting Revolution, and Scott's study of Scottish,
female, working-class heroism, The Heart of Midlothian (1818). With
Ivanhoe (1819) he turned his attention to English history. Scott ran into
catastrophic bankruptcy in 1826, and the years before his
premature death in 1832 were a
desperate struggle with debts and creditors."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Academic/classics96/britclassicsauthor.html)
Accessed 4 April 1997.
The University of Toronto English Library is a project of the Department of English and the Faculty of Arts and Science, funded by the Provost's Electronic Courseware Fund. UTEL was created by Ian Lancashire, Christopher Douglas, and Dennis G. Jerz. We wish to thank the University of Toronto Information Commons, and the members of the Centre for Academic Technology, especially John Bradley, Ian Graham, and Allen Forsyth. See individual Works pages for other credits.
The author portrait, by an unknown artist, is from a miniature at Abbotsford. (Source: Arthur Melville Clark. Sir Walter Scott: the Formative Years. Edinburgh: William Blackswood, 1969. Following page 160. PR 5332 C5 ROBA.)
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