Walter Scott’s Post-War Europe

Marilyn Butler

  • Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination by David Brown
    Routledge, 239 pp, £9.75, August 1980, ISBN 0 7100 0301 3

Scott perhaps illustrates more clearly than other writers the gap between the ideas of the general educated reader and those of the professional academic. The non-professional thinks of him as the mildly spurious Laird of Abbotsford, the sentimental reviver of a heroic Border and Highland past, who was still in the early 19th century more than half a Jacobite. The literary academic, especially since the appearance in English of Georg Lukacs’s Historical Novel in 1962, has seen him as an intellectual of quite a different cast: the first novelist to represent the historical process, the first portrayer of society in terms that Adam Smith might and Karl Marx did approve.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in