Walter Scott << Homepage


Home | Corson Collection | Biography | Works | Image Collection | Portraits | Correspondence | Forthcoming Events | Links | E-texts | Contact

Articles and Chapters on Sir Walter Scott Published in 2017

An Annotated Bibliography

This year saw the publication of one special issue of a journal exclusively devoted to Scott studies. The 2017 number of Yearbook of EnglishStudies, edited and introduced by Susan Oliver, was entitled Walter Scott: New Interpretations. For details of the individual articles, see Bautz, Cook, Fielding, Gottlieb, Leask, Lumsden, McIntosh, Oliver, Price, Sabiron, Sassi, Tulloch, Wallace, and Wickman.

Bautz, Annika. 'The "universal favourite": Daniel Terry's Guy Mannering; or, The Gipsey's Prophecy (1816)', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 36-57.

This essay explores the contemporary reception of the first adaptation of a Walter Scott novel for the stage, Daniel Terry's Guy Mannering; or, The Gipsey's Prophecy (1816). It shows that many more people, from a much wider socio-economic background, would have seen Terry's version between 1816 and 1824 than would have had access to the novel. Reviews of the play indicate that its popularity was enhanced by Scott's extraordinary fame and status, and, indeed, it was judged by its closeness to the novel. Terry's play paved the way for a rush of stage adaptations of Scott's novels, and presents one of the many spin-offs that Scott's works inspired and enabled. The play, in turn, contributed to shaping the reception of the most popular novelist of the early nineteenth century.

Cohen, Monica F.Walter Scott's The Pirate and the Exercise of Property', in Pirating Fictions: Ownership and Creativity in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017), pp. 29-53.

Cook, Daniel. 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Improvisatory Authorship', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 161-85.

This essay traces apparent contradictions in the improvisatory authorship of The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Scott, it argues, seeks to dramatize in a modern printed poem anchored by historical notes the spontaneous and occasional remit of traditional minstrelsy. The story itself, moreover, turns on actions that are notionally unforeseen (improvisus) for an uninitiated reader of romantic ballads. Seemingly from memory, Scott, through his surrogate compositional voices, refashions a range of poetic and scholarly materials from a common stock and from the corpora of others, including, controversially, an as-then unpublished but widely recited fragment by Coleridge. By masterfully reining in his plot by the closing of the text, Scott asserts his authorial control over the poem as it exists on the page and yet still maintains in a kind of living archive the open-ended nature of improvised minstrelsy.

Esterhammer, Angela. 'Speculation in the Late-Romantic Literary Marketplace', Victoriographies, 7 (2017), 7-24.

This article examines how literature of the 1820s, in particular, responds to the distressing economic events of that decade, which experienced a cycle of rampant speculation followed by a stock-market crash in 1825–26. This article examines allegories and analyses of speculation in texts by Byron, John Galt, Walter Scott (Redgauntlet), and Willibald Alexis, together with the Poyais scandal, a notorious example of real-world financial speculation. Combining fact and fiction, these rapidly written texts are early examples of ‘speculative fiction’ that illustrate the dynamics of speculation as a self-perpetuating performance that is sustained by belief and vulnerable to contingency.

Fielding, Penny. '"All that is curious on continent and isle": Time, Place, and Modernity in Scott's 'Vacation 1814' and The Pirate.', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 243-62.

This article considers the interrelations of temporality and spatiality in the early nineteenth century. Comparing Scott's journal of his tour of the lighthouses of Great Britain and his fictional revisiting of the islands of Orkney and Shetland in The Pirate, it looks at two different historical contexts: the (supposed) post-war summer of 1814 and the imperial expansion of the 1820s. It explores the ways Scott uses the rarely visited Northern Islands to think about other spaces: war-torn Europe and the archipelagic empire. Setting the diary form against the novel, Fielding then thinks about the form of the novel as genre in literary history, the progress of the national tale, and finally the uses of georgic as metonymic of literature as a whole fiction.

Fitzsimmons, Lorna. 'Interspecific Force in Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel', English Studies, 98 (2017), 410-25.

This article argues that Scott’s conceptualisation of The Lay of the Last Minstrel as 'being ‘in a light-horseman sort of stanza' is metonymic of the interspecific force dynamics that he evokes in representing relations with non-human animals in the poem. Integrating force dynamics into the ecocritical agenda can serve as a means to move beyond anthropocentrism, as well as the binarised assumption that there exists an environmental intrinsicality, by shifting the focus of attention to relational interfaces. Resistance to or exertion of physical force is, in many instances of Scott’s work, an instantiation of hierarchicalised relationships between human and non-human animals or categories of the human. Analysis of the light-horseman trope frames the examination of force dynamics in the representation of a horse, a dog and birds in The Lay.

Goodall, Jane. 'Between Science and Supernaturalism: Mimesis and the Uncanny in Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Culture', 19, 24 (2017)

Pagination unknown; includes a discussion of the theme of the doppelgänger in The Antiquary.

Gottlieb, Evan. 'Vanishing Mediators and Modes of Existence in Walter Scott's The Monastery', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 77-92.

Suggests that the White Lady's significance in The Monastery lies not in her specific narrative interventions, but rather in her role as an ideological mediator between the novel's Catholic and Protestant factions. The first part of the article employs Slavoj Žižek's concept of the ‘vanishing mediator’ to help clarify the White Lady's structural function as an agent of historical change. Gottlieb then turns to Bruno Latour's socio-anthropological theories to help reframe the novel's more wide-ranging representations of historical conflict. By re-describing The Monastery via Latour's recent rhetoric of ‘modes of existence’, each with its own set of truth-conditions, trajectories, and subject-effects, the article aims to illuminate not only the novel's historical stakes but also its ongoing relevance for us in the early twenty-first century, as we continue to negotiate a variety of seemingly mutually incomprehensible forces and belief systems.

Henry, Patrick Thomas. 'Sir Walter Scott and the Transgression of Anachronistic Borders: The Ideological Fantasy of Westphalian Sovereignty in The Talisman', European Romantic Review, 28 (2017), 203-25.

20th-century literary scholarship traditionally viewed Sir Walter Scott’s novels as central in popularizing a cogent, British ideology of nationalism. Instead, Scott’s oeuvre reveals how Scottishness is essential to—and not elided in—the project of Great Britain. The problematic 'unified' vision of a British nation-state and imagined community relies on the myth of Westphalian sovereignty, which, resulting from the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, posits that a state’s power is limited only by geographic borders. However, Scott’s The Talisman anachronistically imposes the nation-state model on a Crusaders’ camp in 12th-century Palestine; the camp’s porous borders exacerbate what Freud terms the 'narcissism of minor differences' between European nations. The Talisman reveals the failure of ideological fantasies like the nation-state and Westphalian sovereignty: because characters like Saladin and the Scottish Sir Kenneth transgress borders, The Talisman reveals that nation-states succeed only by initiating exchanges with their global and local peripheries.

Jackson, Jeffrey E. 'Burning down the House: Serialization, Domesticity, and Dickens's Rejection of Scott's Influence in Barnaby Rudge (1841)', The Victorian, 5.1 (2017)

Pagination unknown.

Kingstone, Helen.History as a Temporal Continuum: from Walter Scott to William Stubbs', in Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: Memory, History, Fiction (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 29-53.

Victorian thinkers followed Hegel’s historicist principle that the same processes unite past, present, and future: what Kingstone terms a temporal continuum. This is visible in writers as diverse as Walter Scott, Auguste Comte, Charles Lyell, Karl Marx, and John Ruskin. Kingstone argues that the nineteenth-century “death of religion” is better understood as a transfer of religious feeling to history.

Kingstone, Helen. ‘In Defence of Living Memory: “Sixty Years Since” or Less', in Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: Memory, History, Fiction (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 141-74

This chapter argues that Victorian 'novels of the recent past' areoverdue recognition as genuinely historical novels. After an analysis of how Scott uses his ironic narratorial voice in Waverley (1814) to negotiate between progressivism and nostalgia, three mid-Victorian women writers’ works are shown to deploy similar strategies: Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley (1849), Elizabeth Gaskell’s “My Lady Ludlow” (1858-59) and George Eliot’s Felix Holt (1866) and Middlemarch (1871-72).

Leask, Nigel. 'Sir Walter Scott's The Antiquary and the Ossian Controversy', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 189-202.

This essay examines Scott's The Antiquary in relation to the controversy around James Macpherson's Poems of Ossian. Although explicit discussion of Ossian in The Antiquary is mainly confined to Jonathan Oldbuck's comic dialogue with his hot-headed Highland nephew Hector MacIntyre in volume I, chapter 3, the essay argues that the debate was actually central to the larger issue of the ethnic origins and modern identity of the Scots, dramatized in the arguments between the ‘Gothic’ Oldbuck and the ‘Celtic’ Sir Arthur Wardour throughout the novel. Oldbuck's planned epic The Caledoniad is discussed in relation to Macpherson's epic Fingal, and I conclude with a suggestion that the often-criticized ‘invasion plot’ of The Antiquary might have been inspired by that of Fingal, and also Macpherson's earlier poem The Highlander. Scott's irenic vision of Britain in The Antiquary thus resolves ethnic conflict between Goths and Celts in the interest of national unity.

Lumsden, Alison. 'Towards the Edinburgh edition of Walter Scott's Poetry', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 127-42.

In spite of a recent re-evaluation of Scott's work there is no scholarly edition of his poetry. This is a crucial lack that distorts our understanding of the nature of poetry in the Romantic period. However, such a scholarly edition in ten volumes is under preparation at the University of Aberdeen under the guidance of those who produced the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels. This article examines the questions that have been explored in order to develop a methodology for editing Scott's poetry, the ways in which its creative evolution differs from that of his fiction, and outlines some of the discoveries that have been made along the way.

McCracken-Flesher, Caroline. 'Six Degrees from Walter Scott: Separation, Connection and the Abbotsford Visitor Books', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 19-35.

Abbotsford, for all its solidity, offers a challenge to any linear notion of literary and cultural inheritance. It holds visitor books that date from the house's opening shortly after the author's death, and that have been consistently maintained through to today. These books provide unique data expressing how Abbotsford and author evolve in a tangle with quite other people and distant places. This article reads the walls of signatures in Abbotsford's guest books through theories of actor networks and the archive that raise important questions of signing, meaning and being for author and signatory alike.

McIntosh, Ainsley. '"Land debateable": The Supernatural in Scott's Narrative Poetry', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 143-60.

This essay investigates how Scott deploys the supernatural in his early poetry, asking what such imagery, motifs and storylines contribute to our understanding of his works. It argues that they draw attention to broader thematic concerns about politics and power. Ultimately, Scott's engagement with the supernatural allows him to explore the possibilities of language and the limitations of poetic form. Interest in the supernatural also positions him in dialogue with Romantic contemporaries including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats, as well as situating his poetry within a gothic Romantic aesthetic.

Mole, Tom. ‘The Distributed Pantheon: Scott in Edinburgh’, in What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2017), pp. 145-63.

On the Scott Monument.

Myers, Victoria. 'Trial Literature', in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 294-307.

Includes a discussion (pp. 304-307) of The Heart of Mid-Lothian. There are many other references to Scott in this volume..

Napton, Dani, and A. D. Cousins. 'Corporeality and the Corporate in Scott’s Characterization of James I in The Fortunes of Nigel', The Explicator, 75 (2017), 59-61.

Napton, Dani, and A. D. Cousins. 'Monarchy, Home and Nation in Scott’s The Fortunes of Nigel and The Heart of Mid-Lothian', Journal of Language, Literature and Culture (JLLC), 64 (2017), 114-23

Scott’s The Fortunes of Nigel and The Heart of Mid-Lothian are both set in the aftermath of Scottish-English union. Each depicts a journey from Scotland to England in search of justice at the monarch’s hand and, inseparably from that, the establishing of a secure domestic space – the creation of a home – that emblematises the concept of successfully co-existent English and Scottish cultural identities. The Fortunes of Nigel, set in the reign of James I, considers the factors–personal, political, theological and social– contributing to the overthrow of Charles I’s sovereignty and the establishment of the Interregnum. The Heart of Mid-Lothian considers questions of rebellion and societal injustice within the framework of Hanoverian dynastic rule over Britain. In the context of political upheaval, what is of particular interest is the exploration of the continuum between home and nation in the two novels: the experiences of an insecure domestic space and of an unstable national identity by members of two different social classes, in two different historical periods, under two different yet sequent monarchies.

Oelsner, Gertrud. 'Inventing Jutland for the "Golden Age": Danish Artists Guided by Sir Walter Scott', in Romantic Norths: Anglo-Nordic Exchanges, 1770-1842, ed. Cian Duffy (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 101-27.

This chapter show how Scott influenced one of the key moments in Danish romanticism: the discovery of the Jutland heath as a motif in Danish landscape painting. As Oelsner points out, it has been commonly accepted by historians of Danish romanticism that the Jutland heath only became a motif in Danish romantic art following an influential lecture by Niels Laurits Høyen (1798-1870) at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen, in March 1844. However, Oelsner reveals that the early sketches and diaries of the Danish landscape painter Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848) make it clear that he went to then largely unknown Jutland as early as 1830, and was shortly followed by other artists – all influenced significantly by the work of Scott.

Oliver, Susan. 'Trees, Rivers, and Stories: Walter Scott Writing the Land', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 279-99.

This essay investigates Walter Scott's writing, across several genres, as a contribution to an environmental historiography of Scotland. It investigates whether that writing provides any evidence for an early land ethic that anticipates Aldo Leopold's 20th-century use of that term. It also discusses Scott's response to aesthetic discourses of his time via an exploration of ballads, poetry, fiction and a range of non-fiction documents that includes letters, a statement to parliament and minute books. It further considers Scott's involvement in oil gas production and his concern about the depletion of river salmon stocks due to modern methods of fishing aimed at exploiting stocks to meet product demand from London. The essay is set in a framework of contextualized historical sources, as well as recent developments in ecocriticism and the environmental humanities.

Palmer, Alan, and Adam Stier. 'Crowds in Nineteenth-Century Fiction and Historical Writing', Poetics Today, 38 (2017), 549-68.

An internalist perspective on the mind stresses those aspects that are inner, introspective, private, solitary, individual, psychological, mysterious, and detached. An externalist perspective stresses those aspects that are outer, active, public, social, behavioral, evident, embodied, and engaged. This article uses the term social mind to describe those aspects of the whole mind that are revealed through the externalist perspective. It applies the concept of a social mind to descriptions of crowd behavior in Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian, Thomas Macaulay's History of England, and Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge. In particular, it examines the behavior of crowds as a whole, individuals (especially leaders), and subgroups in terms of the key notions of agency, moral responsibility, organization, and action.

Poot, Luke Terlaak. 'Scott's Momentousness: Bad Timing in The Bride of Lammermoor', Nineteenth-Century Literature, 72 (2017), 283-310.

The Bride of Lammermoor articulates the dynamics of ‘momentaneousness’, an aesthetic principle drawn from Scott’s contemporary, Henry Fuseli. For Fuseli, paintings ought to select pregnant moments for representation, moments from which whole narrative sequences can be intuited. Implicit in this notion is the belief that some moments are particularly suited to representation because they are qualitatively different from others—more fully narrative, because more indicative of larger processes of change. Turning to Scott’s novel, Poot shows how this assumption features prominently in The Bride of Lammermoor, where it repeatedly produces unforeseen, calamitous consequences.

Price, Fiona. 'The Politics of Fear: Gothic Histories, the English Civil War and Walter Scott's Woodstock', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 110-24.

The post-French Revolution debate in Britain saw a battle over the meaning and political uses of the gothic, in which the historical novel of the English Civil War and the Commonwealth became an important site. Its pages restaged, in generic as well as political terms, the conflict between, on the one hand, radicals and dissenters, and, on the other, Church and King. While radical writers deployed the gothic to evoke the horrors of oppression, both Cassandra Cooke's Battleridge (1799) and Jane West's The Loyalists (1812) positioned the radicals as themselves the terrorized source of terror. In the process they reclaimed medicinal and scientific authority for the royalists, a position that William Godwin problematizes in Mandeville (1817). Tracing the complexities of this debate, this article that Walter Scott's Woodstock replies to both sides in a metafictional tour de force. Reading Scott's novel against these earlier historical fictions, it becomes evident that the novel is a bitter exposé of the battle over gothic as anything but rational.

Sabiron, Céline. 'Handing over Walter Scott?: The Writer's Hand on the English and French Marketplace', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 58-74.

This essay reassesses Scott's ‘handing down’ strategy in a Romantic context, from his ‘multi-handed’ authorial technique and his staging of the transmission process into publication, to the role of the often-intrusive hand of the translator and the question of the variability of the text. The essay begins by exploring the author's fetishization of the hand motif and the way it reflects on his own writing practices. Affected from an early age by chilblains, Scott literally had to rely on helping hands all through his career. As a writer, his relationship to the hand and the act of writing was therefore paradoxical. The hand as a motif in Scott's writing is shown to be displaced from its physical manifestation into the realm of metaphor, and from the literal to the aesthetic and poetic spheres.

Sassi, Carla. 'Sir Walter Scott and the Caribbean: Unravelling the Silences', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 224-240.

This essay interrogates the striking silences in Scott's oeuvre in relation to Scotland's involvement as a partner of the British Empire in the colonization of the Caribbean and in the exploitation of slavery in this region. Drawing from narratological theories (especially those articulated by Robyn R. Warhol and Ruth Rosaler), it treats Scott's silences as examples of ‘implicature’ — a ‘conspicuous silence’, which acquires and generates meaning through the interaction of text and context, and represents a form of communication in its own right. Through a discussion of samples from his Letters, Tales of a Grandfather, Rokeby, Rob Roy, The Antiquary and Heart of Mid-Lothian, Sassi tries to identify the invisible maps of meaning of the unsaid and ‘unnarrated’. While suggesting that this approach allows us to articulate a more nuanced perspective on Scott and Scottish-Caribbean relations, it also allows us to critically rethink the problems and possibilities of engaging with Caribbean slavery in British and other European nineteenth-century fiction.

Shields, Juliet. 'Authorship of a Poem to Walter Scott Discovered', Notes and Queries, 64:4 (2017), 611-13.

Argues that the ‘Lines to Mr. Walter Scott—on reading his poem of “Guiscard and Matilda”, inscribed to Miss Keith of Ravelstone’, that Lockhart, in his biography of Scott, ascribes to Mrs Cockburn are, in fact, written by Elizabeth Keir.

Sommer, Tim. 'Charismatic Authorship: Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, and the Nineteenth-Century Construction of Romantic Canonicity', in Reading the Canon: Literary History in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Philipp Löffler (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2017), pp. 363-85.

Stafford, Fiona. 'The Roar of the Solway', in Coastal Works: Culture of the Atlantic Edge, ed. Nicholas Allen, Nick Groom, and Jos Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 41-60.

Includes a discussion of Redgauntlet.

Tulloch, Graham. ‘Scott, India and Australia’, Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 263-78.

Argues that Scott's personal relations with India and Australia are remarkably similar in kind. They take place in a well-defined context of imperial patronage ]which Scott used to support a number of young Scots including, in the case of Australia, convicts. On the other hand Scott's imaginative involvement with the two countries differs considerably: India figures quite prominently in his fiction, but in all his published writing there is only one passage on Australia and it deals with quite different issues. This article considers a number of individual cases of Scott's patronage in India and Australia and examines the similar ways in which he was able to further the careers of his protégés. It also compares his writing about India and Australia and suggests that, though the themes are quite different, in each case the dominant theme is one that was taken up by Scott in his early years.

Wallace, Tara Ghoshal. '"This right of mercy": The Royal Pardon in The Heart of Midlothian', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 203-223.

The famous pardon scene in The Heart of Mid-Lothian functions as a gratifying emotional resolution, so much so that readers have often deplored Scott's decision to continue the narrative beyond the climactic interview between Jeanie Deans and Queen Caroline. This essay considers the royal pardon itself, addressing how Scott distinguishes Effie Dean's trial for infanticide from practices governing both the crime and judicial protocol, and connecting criminal procedure with national politics and the royal prerogative itself. Scott emphasizes what is problematic about the mercy of the Hanoverians, but at the same time demonstrates, especially in the final chapters of the novel, the necessity and the propriety of what in The Life of Napoleon he calls ‘this right of mercy’ that was ‘wrest[ed] from the crown’ during the French Revolution.

Wickman, Matthew. '"In contrast to those whom we have called materialists, Mr [Scott] is spiritual": On Scott and Woolf, Romance and "fullness of life"', Yearbook of English Studies, 47 (2017), 93-109.

Virginia Woolf recognized Walter Scott's considerable influence on literary history, but she rejected Scott by appealing to a principle of ‘life’, a composite of delicate perception, vivid imagination, and what Woolf described as ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘materialist’ writing. This essay extends Woolf's formulation to include ‘fullness of life’, a non-sectarian designation of spirituality, and renegotiates her relation to Scott on that basis. It argues that the spiritual for Scott and Woolf is found less in transcendence (a conventional feature of spirituality) than in the failure to reconcile ‘life’ to ‘fullness’, the ‘energies’ of individuals to the history that exceeds them. Romance becomes the record, indeed, the very form of this failure. It is this failure, precisely, that motivates belief — whether in history (Scott) or in what surpasses it (Woolf) — in the first place.

Back to Index of Articles

Back to General Index of Recent Publications

Image Database

Last updated: 11-June-2019
© Edinburgh University Library