Excerpt: ...some knowledge to people who will not do any serious thinking, they may, on the other hand, work harm by satisfying with their superficial information those who would otherwise read history. 429 It seems as if he designed the Life of Napoleon and the History of Scotland for a new reading class that the novels had been creating, and as ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...some knowledge to people who will not do any serious thinking, they may, on the other hand, work harm by satisfying with their superficial information those who would otherwise read history. 429 It seems as if he designed the Life of Napoleon and the History of Scotland for a new reading class that the novels had been creating, and as if he wished to make the step of transition not too long. We can almost fancy them as a series of graded books arranged to lead the people of Great Britain up to a sufficient height of historical information. The Tales of a Grandfather were intended for the beginners who had never been infected by the common heresy concerning the dulness of history, and who were blessed with sufficiently active imagination to make the sugar-coating of fiction superfluous. 430 128 But great as was the interest that Scott took in the historical aspect of his work, his artistic sense guided his use of materials, and he was well aware of the danger of over-working the mine. The principles on which he chose periods and events to represent are illustrated in many of the introductions. Of The Fortunes of Nigel he said: "The reign of James I., in which George Heriot flourished, gave unbounded scope to invention in the fable, while at the same time it afforded greater variety and discrimination of character than could, with historical consistency, have been introduced if the scene had been laid a century earlier." 431 His first published attempt at fiction-writing was a conclusion to the novel, Queenhoo-Hall, 432 of which his opinion was that it would never be popular because antiquarian knowledge was displayed in it too liberally. "The author," he says, "forgot . that extensive neutral ground, the large proportion, that is, of manners and sentiments which are common to us and to our ancestors, having been handed down unaltered from them to us, or which, arising out of the principles of our common nature, must have existed in either state of...Read Less
New. This item is printed on demand. Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (1771-1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time. Famous works include The Lady of the Lake (1810), Waverley (1814), Rob Roy (1818)
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