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Walter Scott
Walter Scott was born in Edimburgh in 1771. His family was attached to the feudal tradition. He was always fascinated by the legendary and historical past of his country. He read a lot of history and legends of Scotland, he listened to tales and stories from the humble people. He also learnt foreign languages such as French, Italian, Latin and German. He attended at Edinburgh High School, studied law and worked in his father’s office. He began his literary activity as a poet translating German ballads and writing romantic tales then he published his first novel Waverley. He married Charlotte Charpentier and he set up a publishing house in which he was a silent partner. In 1812 he bought a property on the banks of the Tweed and spent a fortune building the castle of Abbotsford, here he lived in great splendor like a feudal lord. At this time England was hit by an economic depression and so he went bankrupt .He died in 1832 because of several strokes of paralysis his mental power failed.
Scott’s literary production can be divided in three periods: the first period is formed by story of a very distant past and in this group we find Waverley, the story of the English family of Waverley, known for its Jacobite sympathies. It is set in the reign of George II of England and during the bloody days of 1745. Waverley is a novel where romance, historical events and folklore are blended. The second group is formed by story of distant past and in this group we find Ivanhoe a romance of adventure set in middle ages and describing the enmity between Saxons and Normans. The third group tells about Highland Scottish story and in this group we find Rob Roy the story of a kind of Scottish Robin Hood. Scott is the founder of a new literary form: the ‘historical novel’, which is a combination of fictional and historical events. The feature of the historical novel is to capture the connection between man’s behavior and action, and the historical conditions of the time in which he lives. The Napoleonic wars were the cause of the birth of this novel because they brought together men from different nations, men who spoke different languages and had different costumes. The protagonist of Scott’s novel is an average man who has got the qualities of the man of his time and becomes the living symbol of the solution of the historical crisis. Scott created fictional and real characters and altered great historical events setting them in poetical environments, he was also accused of “historical anachronism” because he attributed contemporary feelings to the protagonist of the past. The plot is based on a pattern called the “journey”. A traveler moves from a safe situation inside an ethnic group to come in contact with another one. Scott wrote several novel and with it influenced Manzoni in fact both the author have a 3rd person omniscient narrator and give an important role to humble and common people in history, the pretend to have found old documents and they use digressions especially concerning history.
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