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Sir Walter Scott Scottish Novelist and Poet. By Sara Smith. Early Life. was born August 15 1771 in College Wynd, in Old Town of Edinburgh to a solicitor Caught polio and survived however he lost use of his right leg Sent to Sandyknowe , his grandparents farm, in order to restore his health

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Sir Walter Scott Scottish Novelist and Poet

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Sir Walter ScottScottish Novelist and Poet

By Sara Smith

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Early Life

  • was born August 15 1771 in College Wynd, in Old Town of Edinburgh to a solicitor

  • Caught polio and survived however he lost use of his right leg

  • Sent to Sandyknowe , his grandparents farm, in order to restore his health

  • Taught to read by his aunt Jenny, who influenced the speech patterns and tales/legends which he used in later works

  • given private tutoring in arithmetic and writing by James Mitchell

  • attended grammar school in Sandyknowe and met James Ballantyne who later became his business partner

  • Nov. 1783,at age 12, started studying at the University of Edinburgh

  • Began an apprenticeship with his fathers office

  • Later became a lawyer in Edinburgh

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Sir Walter Scott

Smailholm Tower

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!”


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Writing Influence

  • Work is influenced by the 18th century Enlightenment

  • His work is popular throughout Europe during his time period

  • Believed every human was practically decent regardless of class, religion, politics and ancestry

  • Major theme in historical works is tolerance

  • Waverley novels express belief in need for social progress

  • First novelist to portray peasants realistically and equal to merchants, kings and soldiers

  • Central theme of many novels were conflicts between opposing cultures

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Start of Literary Career

  • Began to write at 25 by translating works from German

  • Became an ardent volunteer in yeomanry where he met and later married Margaret Charlotte Charpentier in 1791

  • Had five children together

  • Invested in money over time through various jobs and events like being a lawyer, sheriff-deputy, wife’s income, inheritance and from writing

  • Founded a printing press with his poetry

  • Succeeded in publishing numbers of poems over the next ten years

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Famous Works

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Famous Works (cont’d)

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Other Accomplishments

“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land!” – The Lay of the Last Minstrel

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Sandyknowes farm as seen from Smailholm Tower

Portrait by Henry Raeburn

Portrait by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

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Novel Life

  • Waverley and other to follow within the first five years all followed Scottish historical setting

  • Always published novels under the name Author of Waverley or as “the Tales of…” with no author

  • many years passed and when he could finally come out in the open he chose to remain hidden and used the name The Wizard of the North

  • When he published ivanhoe he steered away from Scottish history to English romance in 12th -century.

  • Wrote several books which were sympathetic towards Jews- were written around the time of the Emancipation of Jews in England.

  • As his fame grew he was granted title of the baronet, which became Sir Walter Scott

  • He included little punctuation in his drafts and mostly left them for the printers to supply

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Downfall to Death and Major Contributions

  • Around 1825 started to go bankrupt, his company almost collapses

  • Instead of declaring bankruptcy he traded in his house and income to his creditors hoping to get out of debt

  • He kept writing and publishing fiction until he died in Abbotsford in 1832

  • Was buried in Dryburgh Abbey

  • Abbotsford House was a farmhouse which was developed into an enriched palace that Scott bought over time costing him over £25,000

  • He essentially invented the modern historical novel

  • Influence the Edinburgh's central railway station now called Waverley Station

  • He contributed to the reinvention of Scottish culture

  • His novels followed the rehabilitating of public perception instead of following southern distrust of hill bandits

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