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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:
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 second novel written by Scott turned aside from the path of history, so successfully followed in "Waverley," and dealt no less happily with private scenes and characters. Some of the most enduring and popular types in the author's entire gallery are to be found in "Guy Mannering." Godfrey Bertram, the easy-going laird of the Ellengowan estate, whose hearth-stone is open to vagrant and gentleman alike, shelters a young Englishman of good family during a night when an heir is born to Ellangowari. The vistor, Guy Mannering, knows the rudiments of the discredited science of astrology, and—partly out of curiosity, partly to gratify the father's whim—casts the horoscope of the infant. The prediction shows three periods of baleful influence upon the child, beginning at five years and ending at twenty-one—the last period strangely coinciding with a storm-centre prophesied for Mannering's promised wife. Disturbed by these coincidences, Mannering absolves astrology henceforth, and in order to avoid the possibility of influencing his host's son, he writes and seals the prediction, with instructions that it be left unopened until after the child's fifth birthday. The next day he departs, and soon after enters military service in India, where he attains the rank of Colonel...
The historical gap between '' The Abbot'' and "Kenilworth" is very slight. The latter deals with Queen Mary's '' sister and foe, the celebrated Elizabeth," says Scott. "The interest of the story is thrown upon that period when the sudden death of the first Countess of Leicester seemed to open to the ambition of her husband the opportunity of sharing the crown of his sovereign." The story gives a fine picture of the haughty Queen surrounded by her courtiers and men famous in history. Edward Tressilian, a young gentleman who has loved Amy Robsart, a maiden of good family, is distressed to hear that she is living sequestered in a country villa near Oxford. Believing her dishonored, he makes his way thither and entreats her to return to her father. She refuses, throwing out hints of a high and honorable alliance. Leaving in despair, he fights with Richard Varney, whom he suspects of base dealing toward Amy, but Varney is saved by the intervention of Lambourne. Varney is, in fact, only the tool and lieutenant of "England's proudest earl," Leicester, who, having become enamored of Amy Robsart, has recently persuaded her to enter into a secret but lawful marriage with him. The earl has fitted up the country nest of his bride—Cumnor Place—in truly regal style, but Amy is guarded by Varney and a surly steward named Foster, whose daughter is her sole maid ...
Rob Roy is a historical novel by Walter Scott. It is narrated by Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who travels first to the North of England, and subsequently to the Scottish Highlands, to collect a debt stolen from his father. On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character, Rob Roy MacGregor. The story takes place just before the 1715 Jacobite Rising, with much of Scotland in turmoil. Frank Osbaldistone, the narrator, quarrels with his father and is sent to stay with an uncle, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone, in Northumberland. Frank falls in love with Diana Vernon, Sir Hildebrand's niece, whose father has been forced to go into hiding because of his Jacobite sympathies. Frank's cousin, Rashleigh, steals important documents vital to the honour and economic solvency of Frank's father, William, and Frank pursues Rashleigh to Scotland. Several times his path crosses the mysterious and powerful figure Rob Roy MacGregor, known as Rob Roy, an associate of Sir Hildebrand. There is much confusion as the action shifts to the beautiful mountains and valleys around Loch Lomond. A British army detachment is ambushed and there is bloodshed. The eponymous Rob Roy is badly wounded at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719, in which a British army of Scots and English defeat a Jacobite and Spanish expedition that aimed to restore the Stuart monarchy. All of Sir Hildebrand's sons but Rashleigh are killed in the Jacobite Rising, and Rashleigh, too meets a bloody end. Following this, Frank inherits Sir Hildebrand's property and marries Diana. The novel is a brutally realistic depiction of the social conditions in Highland and Lowland Scotland in the early 18th century. Robert Louis Stevenson loved the novel from childhood, regarding it as the best novel of the greatest of all novelists.
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.
"Edward Waverley is a young, cultured man whose sensibilities lead to his involvement in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. In his journey into Scotland, down to Derby, and back up again he explores the cultural and political geography of Great Britain." "Waverley; or, 'tis Sixty Years Since was Scott's first novel, but like its final chapter, 'A Postscript, which should have been a Preface', it appears as one of the last in this series, so that the full weight of experience gained from editing Scott's fiction can be brought to understanding his most influential novel, the one which gave its name to the Waverley Novels. To this edition, P. D. Garside brings new insights and new information, and he establishes a text which is significantly different from its predecessors."--BOOK JACKET.