Walter Scott: Waverley, Or, Tis Sixty Years Since

(2555 words)
  • Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

In his general preface to the Magnum Opus edition of the Waverley novels (1829), Scott describes the composition and publication of Waverley as a tale of happenstance turned to advantage. The novel was begun in 1805 in emulation of Maria Edgeworth's Irish tales, but abandoned after only six chapters. Scott then carefully filed it away in a cabinet, carelessly lost that cabinet when moving house, and was too indolent to write it out from memory. Finally in October 1813, he rediscovered the manuscript by the merest accident, while hunting around in his loft for some fishing tackle – October is salmon season on the Tweed. By December he had completed the first of the novel's three volumes and settled on a March publication date, …

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Uglow, Nathan. "Waverley, Or, Tis Sixty Years Since". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 June 2002
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]