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Set at the time of the Third Crusade (1189 - 92), "The Betrothed" is the first of Scott's "Tales of the Crusaders." The betrothed is Eveline, daughter of a Norman noble, who is a victim of the Crusade in that her intended husband is required by the Church to fulfil his vow to join the war and departs for three years. The full horror of an arranged marriage, and of being a possible prize as men seek to gain possession of her is vividly realised -- the heroine is never free; her fate is always determined by the agency of men. And being set on the Marches of Wales, it is not just men but differing cultures that strive for mastery over her.
The Monastery is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott. Along with The Abbot, it is one of Scott's Tales from Benedictine Sources and is set in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Elizabethan period. The action is centred around the Monastery of Kennaquhair, probably based on Melrose Abbey in south east Scotland, on the River Tweed. At this time, circa 1550, the Scottish Reformation is just beginning, and the monastery is in peril. A love story is interwoven as the Glendinning boys fall in love with Mary Avenel. Edward ends up becoming a monk, and Halbert finally marries Mary, after service with the Earl of Murray.
As I may, without vanity, presume that the name and official description prefixed to this Proem will secure it, from the sedate and reflecting part of mankind, to whom only I would be understood to address myself, such attention as is due to the sedulous instructor of youth, and the careful performer of my Sabbath duties, I will forbear to hold up a candle to the daylight, or to point out to the judicious those recommendations of my labours which they must necessarily anticipate from the perusal of the title-page. Nevertheless, I am not unaware, that, as Envy always dogs Merit at the heels, there may be those who will whisper, that albeit my learning and good principles cannot (lauded be the heavens) be denied by any one, yet that my situation at Gandercleugh hath been more favourable to my acquisitions in learning than to the enlargement of my views of the ways and works of the present generation. To the which objection, if, peradventure, any such shall be started, my answer shall be threefold:
The course of life to which Mary and her little retinue were doomed, was in the last degree secluded and lonely, varied only as the weather permitted or rendered impossible the Queen's usual walk in the garden, or on the battlements. -from The Abbot They were the literary phenomenon of their time: The Waverly novels, 48 volumes set in fanciful re-creations of the Scottish Highlands (and other lands) of centuries past, published between 1814 and 1831 and devoured by a reading public hungry for these sweeping, interconnected melodramas. The series popularized historical fiction, though they're also abundant in astute political and social commentary. The Abbot, Volume 21 of Waverly, follows directly on from The Monastery (Vol. 18) and features a vividly depicted Mary Queen of Scots during the time of her imprisonment at Lochleven Castle. Scottish novelist and poet SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771-1832), a literary hero of his native land, turned to writing only when his law practice and printing business foundered. Among his most beloved works are The Lady of the Lake (1810), Rob Roy (1818), and Ivanhoe (Waverly Vols. 16 and 17) (1820).
The tale was originally told me by an old servant of my father's, an excellent old Highlander, without a fault. He believed as firmly in the story as in any part of his creed. A grave and elderly person, according to old John MacKinlay's account, while traveling in the wilder parts of Galloway, was benighted. With difficulty he found his way to a country seat, where he was readily admitted. The owner of the house was much struck by the reverend appearance of his guest, and apologized to him for a certain degree of confusion which must unavoidably attend his reception. The lady of the house was, he said, confined to her apartment, and on the point of making her husband a father for the first time. Not so, sir, said the stranger; my wants are few, and easily supplied, and I trust the present circumstances may even afford an opportunity of showing my gratitude for your hospitality. Let me only request that I may be informed of the exact minute of the birth. I will not conceal from you that I am skillful in understanding and interpreting the movements of those planetary bodies which exert their influences on the destiny of mortals. competent estate, and only use the knowledge I possess for the benefit of those in whom I feel an interest...
Rob Roy is set in 1715-16, yet it concerns not the conduct of the Jacobite Rising, but the economic and social conditions which gave rise to it. It celebrates the freebooting capitalism of the hero's father in the City of London, and the actual freebooting of Rob Roy, "the Robin Hood of Scotland, the dread of the wealthy, but the friend of the poor." And through Baillie Nicol Jarvie, one of Scott's most lively creations, it explores the delicate balance of generosity and selfish calculation that is required in all successful enterprise.The text is based upon the first edition, corrected with readings from the manuscript, and is supplied for the very first time with comprehensive historical and explanatory annotation.
Set against the backdrop of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Waverley depicts the story of Edward Waverley, an idealistic daydreamer whose loyalty to his regiment is threatened when they are sent to the Scottish Highlands. When he finds himself drawn to the charismatic chieftain Fergus Mac-Ivor and his beautiful sister Flora, their ardent loyalty to Prince Charles Edward Stuart appeals to Waverley's romantic nature and he allies himself with their cause - a move that proves highly dangerous for the young officer. Scott's first novel was a huge success when it was published in 1814 and marked the start of his extraordinary literary success. With its vivid depiction of the wild Highland landscapes and patriotic clansmen, Waverley is a brilliant evocation of the old Scotland - a world Scott believed was swiftly disappearing in the face of a new, modern era.
The New Cambridge Shakespeare appeals to students worldwide for its up-to-date scholarship and emphasis on performance. The series features line-by-line commentaries and textual notes on the plays and poems. Introductions are regularly refreshed with accounts of new critical, stage and screen interpretations. Shakespeare's plays about the reign of King Henry VI were written at the beginning of his career. A recent series of outstanding productions has demonstrated their theatrical vitality, and their sceptical questioning of Elizabethan orthodoxies has been understood through revisionist readings of the history of Shakespeare's own times. The First Part of King Henry VI, which gives us Shakespeare's portrait of Joan of Arc, is revealed as a successful venture in its own exploratory style, and as a necessary account of key events in the Hundred Years War without which the Wars of the Roses, anatomised in the following two plays, cannot be understood.
Austen’s most celebrated novel tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a bright, lively young woman with four sisters, and a mother determined to marry them to wealthy men. At a party near the Bennets’ home in the English countryside, Elizabeth meets the wealthy, proud Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth initially finds Darcy haughty and intolerable, but circumstances continue to unite the pair. Mr. Darcy finds himself captivated by Elizabeth’s wit and candor, while her reservations about his character slowly vanish. The story is as much a social critique as it is a love story, and the prose crackles with Austen’s wry wit.
Jeanie Deans, a dairymaid, decides she must walk to London to gain an audience with the Queen. Her sister is to be executed for infanticide and, while refusing to lie to help her case, Jeanie is desperate for a reprieve. Set in the 1730s in a Scotland uneasily united with England, The Heart of Mid-Lothian dramatizes different kinds of justice - that meted out by the Edinburgh mob in the lynching of Captain Porteous, and that encountered by a terrified young girl suspected of killing her baby. Based on an anonymous letter Scot received in 1817, this is the seventh and finest of Scott's 'Waverley' novels. It was an international bestseller and inspired succeeding novelists from Balzac to George Eliot.