1814 - Sir Walter Scott's Waverley

Scott helped to create a new national identity for Scotland through his poems and novels, and was a major figure in the international Romantic movement. This is his manuscript for Waverley, his first novel and arguably the first ever historical novel when it was published in 1814.

Waverley deals with themes that greatly interested and affected Scott's contemporaries and which continue to fascinate today: the lost cause of Jacobitism, the romance of the '45 Rebellion, and the depiction of societies (both Highland and Lowland) in the course of profound change. In addition to the importance of the novel as an interpretation of a historical process there was also its essential 'Scottishness', a fact that did much to make Scotland the popular theme in life, art, travel and fashion that it became in the Victorian age. Lord Cockburn recalled how the appearance of Waverley struck Edinburgh 'with an electric shock of delight'. Jane Austen, sensing her territory invaded by a new kind of writer, protested: 'Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair.'.

Adv. MS. 1.1.0

Sir Walter Scott's Waverly


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