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    An Appreciation of Sir Walter Scott Part III The Waverley Novels, Introduction and The First Four Novels


    The Waverley Novels are a long series of books by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). For nearly a century they were among the most popular and widely-read novels in all of Europe. Because he did not publicly acknowledge authorship until 1827, they take their name from Waverley (1814), which was the first. The later books bore the words “by the author of Waverley” on their title pages. More loosely, the term is used to refer to all of his novels. The Tales of my Landlord series was not advertised as “by the author of Waverley” but they are generally part of the collected editions.
    Scott’s work shows the influence of the 18th century Enlightenment. He believed every human was basically decent regardless of class, religion, politics, or ancestry. Tolerance is a major theme in his historical works. The Waverley Novels express his belief in the need for social progress that does not reject the traditions of the past. He was the first novelist to portray peasant characters sympathetically and realistically, and was equally just to merchants, soldiers, and even kings.

    48 Volume Edition

    The first full collection of works is referred to as The Magnum Opus Edition, published 1829-1833, and consisted of the following 48 volumes;

    I Waverley I

    II Waverley II

    III Guy Mannering I

    IV Guy Mannering II

    V The Antiquary I

    VI The Antiquary II

    VII Rob Roy I

    VIII Rob Roy II

    IX Old Mortality I

    Vol X Old Mortality II

    XI Heart of Mid-Lothian I

    XII Heart of Mid-Lothian II

    XIII Bride of Lammermoor I

    XIV Bride of Lammermoor II

    XV A Legend of Montrose

    XVI Ivanhoe I

    XVII Ivanhoe II

    XVIII The Monastery I

    XIX The Monastery II

    XX The Abbott I

    XXI The Abbot II

    XXII Kennilworth I

    XXIII Kennilworth II

    XXIV The Pirate I

    XXV The Pirate II

    XXVI The Fortunes of Nigel I

    XXVII The Fortunes of Nigel II

    XXVII Peveril of the Peak I

    XXIX Peveril of the Peak II

    XXX Peveril of the Peak III

    XXXI Quentin Durward I

    XXXII Quentin Durward II

    XXXIII St Ronan’s Well I

    XXXIV St Ronan’s Well II

    XXXV Red Gauntlet I

    XXXVI Red Gauntlet II

    XXXVII The Betrothed

    XXXVIII The Talisman

    XXXIX Woodstock I

    XLWoodstock II

    XLI The Highland Widow

    XLII Fair Maid of Perth I

    XLIII Fair Maid of Perth II

    XLIV Anne of Geierstein I

    XLV Anne of Geierstein II

    XLVI Count Robert of Paris I

    XLVII Count Robert of Paris II, Castle Dangerous

    XLVIII Castle Dangerous, The Surgeon’s Daughter

    Subsequent editions were published in 48 and 24/25 volume editions.

    24/25 Volume Editions

    The 24/25 volume editions are generally as follows;


    IIGuy Mannering

    IIIThe Antiquary

    IVRob Roy

    VOld Mortality

    VIHeart Of Midlothian

    VIIMontrose /Blackdwarf

    VIIIThe Bride Of Lammermoor


    XThe Monastery

    XIThe Abbot


    XIIIThe Pirate

    XIVThe Fortunes Of Nigel

    XVPeveril Of The Peak

    XVIQuentin Durward

    XVIISt. Ronan’s Well

    XVIIIRed Gauntlet

    XIXThe Betrothed/Talisman


    XXIFair Maid of Perth

    XXIIAnne Of Geierstein

    XXIIICount Robert Of Paris/The Surgeons Daughter

    XXIVCastle Dangerous /Chronicles etc.

    The differences between the 24 and 25 volume editions is marginal and is due to the way the publishers collated the shorter novels, from volume XIX onwards. The overall content for the works is unchanged.

    There may also be a uniformly bound autobiography of Sir Walter Scott, normally in two volumes. The Life of Sir Walter Scott by J G Lockhart.

    The First Four Waverley Novels

    The first four Waverley Novels were;
    Waverley(1814), Guy Mannering(1815), The Antiquary(1816) and Rob Roy(1817).
    Waverley, or, Tis Sixty Years Since

    Click To Enlarge

    The period is 1745-1746 and the main setting is Perthshire, Scotland. Waverley is an historical novel by Sir Walter Scott. Initially published anonymously in 1814 as Scott’s first venture into prose fiction, Waverley is often regarded as the first historical novel.
    Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.
    Upon publication, Waverley was an astonishing success, the first edition of one thousand copies sold out within two days of publication, and by November a fourth edition was at the presses.
    Guy Mannering or The Astrologer

    Guy Mannering

    Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, was Walter Scott’s second novel, first published anonymously in 1815. According to an introduction that Scott wrote in 1829, he had originally intended to write a story of the supernatural, but changed his mind soon after starting. The book was a huge success, selling out the day after its first edition.
    Guy Mannering is set in the 1760s to 1780s, mostly in the Galloway area of southwest Scotland, but with episodes in Cumberland, Holland, and India. It tells the story of Harry Bertram, the son of the Laird of Ellangowan, who is kidnapped at the age of five by smugglers after witnessing the murder of a customs officer. It follows the fortunes and adventures of Henry and his family in subsequent years and the struggle over the inheritance of Ellangowan. The novel also depicts the lawlessness that existed at the time, when smugglers operated along the coast and thieves frequented the country roads.
    The Antiquary

    The Antiquary

    The period is the 1790s and the main setting is Angus, Scotland. The Antiquary (1816) is a novel by Sir Walter Scott about several characters including an amateur historian, archaeologist and collector of items of dubious antiquity. Although he is the eponymous character, he is not necessarily the hero, as many of the characters around him undergo far more significant journeys or change. Instead, he provides a central figure (and location) for other more exciting characters and events – on which he provides a sardonic commentary. This is Scott’s gothic novel, redolent with family secrets, stories of hidden treasure and hopeless love, with a mysterious, handsome, young man, benighted aristocracy and a night-time funeral procession to a ruined abbey, no less. But the romance and mystery is counterpoised by some of Scott’s more down-to-earth characters, and grittily unromantic events.

    The third of the Waverley Novels is dominated by two old men, Jonathan Oldbuck (the Antiquary of the title) and the beggar Edie Ochiltree. Together they apply their knowledge of the past to sort out the confusion of the present, and in doing so restore the fortunes of ancient houses. This was Scotts favourite among his novels, and presents a quizzical and amusing view of the profession of history and, by implication, of Scotts own practice as writer and collector.

    Rob Roy

    Rob Roy

    The period is the 1715-16 and the main setting is Loch Lomond, Scotland. Rob Roy (1817) is a novel by Walter Scott about Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who goes to the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt stolen from his father. Rob Roy MacGregor, whom the book is named after, appears in the book several times but is not the lead character (in fact the narrative does not move to Scotland until half way through the book).
    The story takes place at the time of the ’15 Jacobite Rising. Frank Osbaldistone, the narrator, quarrels with his father and is sent to stay with an uncle, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone, in Northumberland. Banished from his father’s house, Frank Osbaldistone becomes involved in the conspiracy surrounding the disastrous Jacobite rising of 1715. His adventures take him to “MacGregor’s country”, across the Highland Line, where he finds cruelty, heartbreak, and some unlikely friends one of which is Robert Roy MacGregor, a famous Scottish folk hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He was considered an outlaw of the early 18th century by the nobles and leaders.
    The novel is a brutally realistic depiction of the social conditions in Highland and Lowland Scotland in the early 18th Century.

    Coming Soon - Read Part IV More Waverley Novels.

    An Appreciation of Sir Walter Scott in Ten Parts
    Part I Walter Scott, A Short Biography.
    Part II Scott The Poet.
    Part III The Waverley Novels, Introduction and The First Four Novels
    Parts IV-VIII – More Waverley Novels. (Coming Soon)
    Part IX Locations Associated with Sir Walter Scott. (Coming Soon)
    Part X Short Bibliography including Editions of The Waverley Novels. (Coming Soon)

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