Fun Facts Friday: Sir Walter Scott

August 15, 2014

Sir Walter Scott (15 August, 1771 – 21 September, 1832) is a  poet, historian, and biographer born in Scotland. Mr. Scott is often considered both the inventor and the best practitioner of the historical novel.

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  1. Walter Scott limped all his life due to a bout of Polio he contracted when he was 18 months old.
  2. Mr. Scott’s great-aunt Margaret Swinton was a source for many of his stories. She was hacked to death by a crazed woman servant.
  3. Walter Scott wrote 27 novels in about 15 years, writing 3 all in 1819 alone. He also served as a Clerk of Session for the Scottish Court, and as a Sheriff.
  4. Mr. Scott loved the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders, as a boy and a man he “collected” those stories he heard. Scott developed a method of recording what he heard using carvings on twigs, to avoid the disapproval of those who believed that such stories were neither for writing down nor for printing.
  5. After Scott read Lord Byron’s poetry he figured he’ll never be as good, so he simply stopped writing poems.
  6. Walter Scott, unlike many men of the time, liked and appreciated the works of Jane Austen. Ironically, Ms. Austen wrote about Scott’s novel Waverly: “Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones.—It is not fair.—He has fame and profit enough as a poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.—I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverly if I can help it—but fear I must.
  7. The Robin Hood we know today as a happy, patriotic rebel is due to Scott’s treatment of the character in Ivanhoe. He also popularized the name “Robin of Locksley” as an epitaph to Robin Hood after reading a 15th Century manuscript referring to the bandit as such.
  8. Scott’s novel Ivanhoe is also credited with first use of the name Cedric. The name was actually a misspelling of the Saxon name Cerdi.
  9. Walter Scott was always in need of money, he had become a partner in a printing (and later publishing) firm owned by James Ballantyne and his irresponsible brother John and had to save them from bankruptcy. However, from that time everything he wrote was done partly in order to make money and pay off the lasting debts he had incurred.
  10. Walter Scott continued writing after suffering from 4 strokes.

Books by Sir Walter Scott

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Fun Facts Friday: Walter Scott
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Fun Facts Friday: Sir Walter Scott
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Sir Walter Scott (15 August, 1771 – 21 September, 1832) is a poet, historian, and biographer born in Scotland. Mr. Scott is often considered both the inventor and the best practitioner of the historical novel
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