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Scott's Novels

Sir Walter Scott wrote historic novels and poetry. His inspiration started in his early life in the Borders with his grand-parents, who sparked his imagination with tales of Scottish medieval history. He also read widely of the Latin and Greek Classics, and learned French, Italian, Spanish and later German to allow him to read European works. His writing contributed to the Gothic revival in literature and architecture of the 19th Century.

He went on to write 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel', 'Marmion' and perhaps his most popular poetic work 'The Lady of the Lake'.

Between 1814 and 1820, he provided a rapturous public with a series of romantic novels - 'Waverley', 'Guy Mannering', 'The Antiquary', 'The Black Dwarf', 'Old Mortality', 'Rob Roy', 'The Heart of Midlothian', The Bride of Lammermoor', and 'A Legend of Montrose'.

With the publication of 'Ivanhoe' in December 1819, he reached the pinnacle of sales as a popular author. This was no mean feat considering he suffered great pain from gall-stones between 1817-20, and also produced essays and reviews of English literature, drama and history and he had a day job!. His early works were published anonymously and he was known as the 'Great Unknown' until 1827.

In 1825-1826 Ballantyne's printing firm and Constable's publishing house, with which Scott was heavily involved, crashed leaving him with debts of £117,000. He refused to be declared bankrupt and set about repaying his debts through his writing and by first selling his Edinburgh house in 39 North Castle Street.

Tragically his wife Charlotte died a few weeks after they moved to Abbotsford. However Scott redoubled his efforts on his work on the nine volume 'Life of Napoleon Buonaparte' which took two years. He continued with 'Chronicles of the Canongate' including 'The Fair Maid of Perth', Tales of a Grandfather', and 'Anne of Geierstein'.

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