Happy Birthday Sir Walter Scott

sir walter scott

 

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, FRSE was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world in the 19th century.

Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

Although primarily remembered for his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire.

A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

In 1825 and 1826, a banking crisis swept through the cities of London and Edinburgh. The Ballantyne printing business, in which he was heavily invested, crashed, resulting in his being very publicly ruined. Rather than declare himself bankrupt, or to accept any kind of financial support from his many supporters and admirers (including the King himself), he placed his house and income in a trust belonging to his creditors, and determined to write his way out of debt. He kept up his prodigious output of fiction, as well as producing a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, until 1831. By then his health was failing. Notwithstanding this, he undertook a grand tour of Europe, being welcomed and celebrated wherever he went. He returned to Scotland and, in September 1832, died (under unexplained circumstances) at Abbotsford, the home he had designed and had built, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. Though he died owing money, his novels continued to sell and the debts encumbering his estate were eventually discharged.

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