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Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Edimburgh, the capitol of Scotland: he studied to became a lawyer and deeply studied and analyzed Scottish history making expeditions into the Highlands. He started writing as a poet, but when Byron’s fame overcame his one, he turned into prose, and he is now considered the father of historical novel.
The main characteristic of his novels is that he mixes up history and fiction, inventing the main characters and letting them act and move on a real historical background, with real historical characters. Most of his novels are settled in the Middle Ages: Scott chose this period because it is a distant past, without precise information and documentation about it, so he could describe situations and places freely, often inventing some particulars, without being denied. He uses a language close to the common speech, but elevated in tone and with some archaism in order to create an illusion of the past. In his novels, there is often a circular pattern: a man who leaves his ethnic group, joins a new one, acquires its habits and then comes back to the old group with new experiences to share. However, his novels are based on positive ideals and the characters live fantastic experiences. One of his most famous novels is Ivanhoe, a very traditional story settled in the Middle Ages, in particular during the period of Richard the Lionheart, full of knights, dames, balls, heroes and fights, which are all the typical ingredients of a Romantic story.
It is said that Scott’s novels have influenced Manzoni’s way of writing: both of them were conscious of the importance of the common and poor people, but Manzoni was more precise in describing historical events, analyzed the characters more deeply and had a strong sense of Providence.
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