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Creator / Walter Scott

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"There is a vulgar incredulity, which in historical matters, as well as in those of religion, finds it easier to doubt than to examine."

Walter Scott (later Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet; 15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a 19th-century author of best-selling historical novels, many set in his native Scotland. He also wrote plays, poems, short stories, and non-fiction.

His best-known works include Waverley, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe (which guest-starred Robin Hood and had a significant effect on subsequent portrayals), and The Bride of Lammermoor (which was adapted into a famous opera). Before venturing into prose fiction, which he published anonymously (although his identity was a poorly-kept secret), Scott was a bestselling narrative poet. His later novels were composed under the combined strain of bankruptcy and severe illness.

Arguably the most famous and influential novelist of the nineteenth century, frequently imitated across Europe and in the United States. Among the novelists owing him a profound debt: James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alessandro Manzoni, and Leo Tolstoy.

Notoriously, Mark Twain "sank" Scott in Huckleberry Finn.

Works by Walter Scott:

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  • The Chase, and William and Helen: Two Ballads, translated from the German of Gottfried Augustus Bürger (1796)
  • Glenfinlas (1800)
  • Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-03)
  • The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805)
  • Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806)
  • Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field (1808)
  • The Lady of the Lake (1810)
  • The Vision of Don Roderick (1811)
  • The Bride of Triermain (1813)
  • Rokeby (1813)
  • The Field of Waterloo (1815)
  • The Lord of the Isles (1815)
  • Harold the Dauntless (1817)
  • Bonnie Dundee (1825)


  • Waverley (1814)
  • Guy Mannering (1815)
  • The Antiquary (1816)
  • The Black Dwarf (1816)
  • Old Mortality (1816)
  • Rob Roy (1817)
  • The Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818)
  • The Bride of Lammermoor (1819)
  • A Legend of Montrose (1819)
  • Ivanhoe (1819)
  • The Monastery (1820)
  • The Abbot (1820)
  • Kenilworth (1821)
  • The Pirate (1821-22)
  • The Fortunes of Nigel (1822)
  • Peveril of the Peak (1822)
  • Quentin Durward (1823)
  • St. Ronan's Well (1824)
  • Redgauntlet (1824)
  • The Betrothed (1825)
  • The Talisman (1825)
  • Woodstock (Scott) (1826)
  • Chronicles of the Canongate (1827): Contains two short stories and a novel published together
  • The Fair Maid of Perth (1828)
  • Anne of Geierstein (1828)
  • Count Robert of Paris (1832)
  • Castle Dangerous (1832)
  • The Siege of Malta (written between 1831-32, first published in 2008)
  • Bizarro (unfinished, first published in 2008)

     Short stories 
  • The Inferno of Altisidora (1811)
  • Christopher Corduroy (1817)
  • Alarming Increase of Depravity Among Animals (1818)
  • Phantasmagoria (1818)
  • The Keepsake Stories (1828): Three short stories published together
  • A Highland Anecdote (1832)

Adapted works with their own trope pages:

Walter Scott's other works provide examples of:

  • Alternate History: Redgauntlet, set during an imagined third Jacobite rebellion.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Antiquary.
  • Affably Evil: Claverhouse in Old Mortality, although Scott doesn't treat him as a full-blown monster.
  • Bar Sinister (Trope Maker)
  • Benevolent Boss: It is mentioned in Wandering Willie's Tale that for all Sir Robert's brutal actions against the Covenanters, he was never a bad master to his own people, and well liked by tenants and servants alike.
  • Character Title: Quite a few, including Guy Mannering, Waverley, Ivanhoe, and Quentin Durward.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Direct Line to the Author: Nearly all of the novels are supposedly "written" or "edited" by somebody other than Scott, with Scott the recipient of (and literary agent for) the results. The best-known of these editorial personae are Jedediah Cleishbotham, Captain Clutterbuck, Chrystal Croftangry, and Peter Pattieson.
  • Epistolary Novel: For part of Redgauntlet.
  • The Fundamentalist: Scott had little patience for this in any form. Examples:
    • The Heart of Midlothian: Davie Deans (who eventually arrives at a grudging truce with his more moderate son-in-law).
    • Old Mortality: The Covenanters.
  • Funetik Aksent: Scott kindly provided glossaries.
  • Historical Domain Character: Everywhere. For example:
    • John Graham of Claverhouse in Old Mortality.
    • Rob Roy MacGregor in Rob Roy.
    • Queen Caroline and the Duke of Argyle (Argyll) in The Heart of Midlothian.
    • Mary of Scotland in The Abbot.
    • Elizabeth I, Amy Robsart, and the Earl of Leicester in Kenilworth.
    • Louis XI of France in Quentin Durward.
    • Charles Edward Stuart (the "Young Pretender") in Redgauntlet.
    • Richard The Lion Heart in Ivanhoe.
  • Lady Macbeth: Lady Ashton in The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • Large Ham: Chesterton defended him from the charge that to many of his characters were Large Hams by pointing out that that was what made them great characters.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: The aftermath of a concealed pregnancy drives the plot in The Heart of Midlothian.
  • The Ophelia: Lucy Ashton in The Bride of Lammermoor; Madge Wildfire in The Heart of Midlothian.
  • Pinball Protagonist: One of Scott's calling cards is the passive protagonist, who often spends most of the novel being carted around by the Action Hero. The best-known examples are the title characters in Waverley and Ivanhoe (the latter famously spends a battle sequence flat on his back in a tower, unable to see anything that's going on). Lampshaded by the protagonist of The Abbot, who, after being hit with a What the Hell, Hero?, points out with considerable exasperation that he hasn't the slightest clue what's going on, or what he's supposed to be doing.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • Public Domain Character: The magician Michael Scott in Lay of the Last Minstrel.
  • Scrapbook Story: Redgauntlet combines third-person POV with an epistolary novel, then adds the inset story "Wandering Willie's Tale" for good measure. (That last is now better-known than the novel itself.)
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Several, including The Merchant of Venice (Isaac and Rebecca in Ivanhoe) and Macbeth (much of The Bride of Lammermoor).
  • Split Hair: In The Talisman, Saladin demonstrates the sharpness of his Saracen sword by dropping a cushion onto it, which is neatly sliced in half.
  • To Hell and Back: "Wandering Willie's Tale."
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?
  • Worthy Opponent: One of his calling cards was to have decent people of differing races and religions and even on the opposite sides of a war.