Author

Walter Scott

Walter Scott Biography
Henry Raeburn / Public domain

Walter Scott Biography

Sir. Walter Scott (August 15, 1771 – September 21, 1832) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. British writer, poet, and lawyer considered the founder of the historical novel. Scott was one of the key figures of the Romantic Movement in the United Kingdom. He began his long career as a writer at the end of the 18th century, at which time he published the translation of the ballads of G.A. Bürger, The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Among his most acclaimed writings, are The Lady of the Lake (1810), Guy Mannering (1815), Rob Roy (1817), Ivanhoe (1819), The Monastery (1820), and The Talisman (1825). Most of these works were published anonymously. However, towards the end of the 1820s, the identity of the author was revealed.

Early years

Son of Walter Scott, lawyer, and Anne Rutherford, with only two years of age, contracted polio. Disease that seriously affected his health, leaving as a limp in his right leg. At this time, he lived with his grandfather Robert Scott in Sandyknowe. After four years he returned to Edinburgh, city in which he carried out his studies. Subsequently entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied law, as did his father.

After graduating he began to practice his profession. At this time, he began to collect information about the myths and legends of Scotland while carrying out his duties. This theme was addressed by Scott in different works.

Literary career

Towards the end of the 1790s he began his career, translating the work of Gottfried A. Bürger, Leonore, as well as the ballads included in The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Shortly thereafter translated Götz von Berlichingen of Goethe, book based on the life of the poet and adventurer Götz von Berlichingen, known as Iron Hand. At the beginning of the 19th century, he published the collection of ballads collected during his travels, entitled Minstrels of the Scottish Border (1802). This includes famous Scottish ballads such as The Young Tamlane, The Twa Corbies, The Douglas Tragedy, The Wife of Usher’s Well, The Cruel Sister and The Daemon Lover. After its publication, the work had little reception, however, the author continued to update this collection until 1830.

In the mid-1800s, he published the poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), a writing that was well-received, followed by Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), a written work while serving as secretary of the courts of justice in Edinburgh. Later, Scott published Marmion: a Tale of Flodden Field (1808), a romantic historical poem that ends with the death of the protagonist in the Battle of Flodden Field. Two years later, he published The Lady of The Lake (1810), one of his most acclaimed poems by the author.

He later published The Vision of Don Roderick (1811) and The Bridal of Triermain (1813). In 1814 he published his first novel Waverley, a work set in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in the United Kingdom; it was published anonymously since the author was a public official. After its publication, the work became a success.

Since then, he published several novels using different pseudonyms as Author of Waverley, Jebediah Cleisbotham, Crystal Croftangry, and Lawrence Templeton, among others. It should be noted that at this time the author’s identity was a fairly well-known secret. After Waverley (1814) wrote Guy Mannering (1815), The Antiquarian (1816), Rob Roy (1818) and Ivanhoe (1819), a novel story set in medieval England that tells the story of Wilfredo de Ivanhoe, noble Saxon, likewise, delves into the contradictions between the Saxon people and the Normans. This is one of the most outstanding works of the author.

Three years later he published The Adventures of Nigel (1822) and Peveril of the Peak (1822), followed by Quintin Durward (1823), a novel set in France by Louis XI. Later published Redgauntlet (1824), Tales of the Crusaders (1825) and Woodstock or The Knights: A Story of 1651 (1826).

That same year the author’s identity was revealed; year in which the author went through one of the most difficult moments of his life, given that his wife Charlotte Carpenter died and the Constable publishing house, in which he had invested a large amount of money he went bankrupt. Leaving a debt of 130,000 pounds, which he paid for the rest of his life.

At the end of the 1820s, he published The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1827), a book in which he delves into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. The following year he published The Beautiful Young Woman of Perth (1828) and Tales of the Grandfather (1828), followed by History of Scotland (1829-1830), The Daughter of the Mist (1829), Bonnie Dundee (1830) and Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1831), the author’s last work. At this time, Scott, stopped writing and his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Scott passed away on September 21, 1832, was buried in Dryburgh Abbey.

The author’s work is considered a pioneer in the field of the historical novel, his writings are exalted by critics, since in these he realistically addresses historical events linked to his native Scotland and the Middle Ages, vividly evoking the context in which the protagonist of the history. Scott profoundly influenced the work of European writers, as well as painters and musicians; the writings of this have been represented in the theater, cinema, and television on several occasions.

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