Walter Scott: The Pirate

(2721 words)
  • Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

In July 1814, the Scottish Sessions Court broke for summer recess as usual. Freed to his own devices, one Sessions Court Clerk had his first novel published. He watched it sell moderately well for three weeks, then went down the hill from Edinburgh to Leith and set off on a sea voyage around Scotland with the Inspector of Lighthouses. On his travels, the Clerk was particularly taken with the Orkneys, and the yet more remote Shetland islands. With the eyes of a historian he saw these wind-scoured rocky outcrops in the North Sea as the site of adventure and conflict, the point at which the Norse world of the Eddas and Sagas, honest and heroic, confronts the Scottish nation, Calvinist and commercial. What must have fascinated him was the …

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Uglow, Nathan. "The Pirate". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 June 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]