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Sir Walter Scott

Writer

Born: 15 August 1771
Died: 21 September 1832 (stroke)
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Best known as:

The author of Ivanhoe

Walter Scott was a superstar novelist of the early 19th century, and a pioneer in the art of the historical novel. His special interest was Scotland's history and culture; his first literary success was a collection of Scottish ballads and narrative poems, the five-volume Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-03). Over the next 30 years he produced a tremendous number of novels, biographies, stories and poems. The best-known is probably Ivanhoe (1819), a romantic tale of chivalry with a cast that included Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood. Other works include The Lady of the Lake (1810), the Waverley novels (first published in 1814), Rob Roy (1818), The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), and the epic poem Marmion (1808) which includes his famous ballad Lochinvar. He was made baronet by the Prince Regent (later King George IV) in 1818. Never a prudent man with money, Walter Scott suffered a calamity when the publishing firm of which he was part-owner went bankrupt in 1826. Scott resolved to pay off the debt by writing, but the tremendous exertion ruined his health and led to his death in 1832.

Extra credit:

Sir Walter Scott's estate on the River Tweed was known as Abbotsford... The Waverley novels were published anonymously, and not until 1827 did Scott admit his authorship... American abolitionist Frederick Douglass was a former slave who took his name from Sir Walter Scott's 1810 book The Lady Of the Lake... The title of the same book was altered ironically by Raymond Chandler for his 1943 murder mystery The Lady In the Lake.

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