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Sir Walter Scott

lawyer-turned-author best known for writing novels based on historical events

Sir Walter Scott

Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 15, 1771. He spent his early years at Sandy-Know, the residence of his paternal grandparents. There his grandmother told him tales of old heroes, and these renditions awakened in him a love and admiration for the old Border tales and ballads. He attended Edinburgh High School and studied at Edinburgh University.

Apprenticed to his father, a solicitor, in 1786, Scott was called to the bar in 1792. In 1799, he was appointed Sheriff Depute of the County of Selkirk, and he became clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1806. To increase his income, Scott started a printing and publishing business with a friend. After the enterprise crashed, he accepted all debts and tried to pay them off with his writings. He was created a baronet in 1820.

In the 1820's Scott founded the Bannatyne Club, which published old Scottish documents.

He died in England on September 21, 1832, and was buried beside his ancestors in Dryburgh Abbey.


Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-03)
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805)
Marmion (1808)
The Lady in the Lake (1810)
Rokeby (1813)
The Lord of the Isles (1815)

Waverley Series

Waverley (1814)--dealing with the rebellion of 1745
Rob Roy (1817)--a portrait of one of Scotland's greatest heroes
The Antiquary
A Legend of Montrose (1819)
Quentin Durward (1823)

Other Historical Novels

Guy Mannering (1815)
Tales of My Landlord (1816)
Old Mortality (1816)
The Heart of Midlothian (1818)
The Bride of Lammermoor (1819)
Ivanhoe (1819)--about war between Normans and Saxons during the reign of Richard I
Kenilworth (1821)
The Fortunes of Nigel (1822)
Peveril of the Peak (1823)
St. Ronan's Well (1824)
The Talisman (1825)--about conflict between Christians and Muslims
Woodstock (1826)
The Surgeon's Daughter (1827)
Anne of Geierstein (1828)

Dramatic Works

Halidon Hill (1822)
Macduff's Cross (1823)
The Doom of Devorgoil, A Melodrama (1830)
Auchindrane (1830)

Other Works

translated into English Gottfried Bürger's ballads The Wild Huntsman and Lenore, as well as Goetz of Berlichingen from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play (1799)

Life of Napoleon (1827)--published in 9 volumes

Family Life

Married Margaret Charlotte Charpenter in 1797. The couple had five children. Lady Scott died in 1826.


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The Robinson Library >> English Literature >> 1640-1770

This page was last updated on 09/21/2018.