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Waverley 1. Outline Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Scott and the question of empire.

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Presentation on theme: "Waverley 1. Outline Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Scott and the question of empire."— Presentation transcript:

1 Waverley 1

2 Outline Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Scott and the question of empire

3 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth Walter Scott – a poet turned novelist Waverley, first novel, 1814 Success of the Waverley Novels (Scott’s business interest in James Ballantyne & Co., printers) Scott uses his fame to promote the career of JA and, more generally, ‘a style of novel [which] has arisen, within the last fifteen or twenty years’

4 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth This ‘new’ novel presents to the reader ‘instead of the splendid scenes of an imaginary world, a correct and striking representation of that which is daily taking place around him’ The ‘exceptionally fluid’ (Eagleton) literary situ- ation in the era of the Romantic novel grows more stabilized as the newly crystallized mature realism becomes the dominant mode of fiction

5 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth Waverley a remarkably ‘well read’ novel – gathers up into itself previous modes of prose fiction ME amongst those who are ‘gathered up’ in this way See W, vol. 3, ch. 25: ‘A Postscript, which should have been a Preface’

6 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth WS: ‘It has been my object to describe these persons [his novel’s Scottish char- acters], not by a caricatured and exagg- erated use of the national dialect, but by their habits, manners, and feelings; so as, in some distant degree, to emulate the admirable Irish portraits drawn by Miss Edgeworth’

7 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth WS influenced by ME’s ‘regional’ novel – an interest in regionalism makes for a realist emphasis in fiction ME’s ‘Irish’ regionalism replicated in terms of JA’s ‘English’ regionalism (North- amptonshire and the enclosures) in MP and WS’s ‘Scottish’ regionalism in W – the novel emerges as a history of nation

8 Scott, Austen, and Edgeworth With W, WS develops ME’s regional novel into a full-blown ‘historical novel’ ME – a general interest in Irish affairs ‘before 1782’ WS – a general interest in Scottish affairs specifically with reference to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 = W as a historical novel

9 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ W the first ‘historical novel’ Georg Lukács: ‘What is lacking in the so- called historical novel before Sir Walter Scott is precisely the specifically historical, that is, derivation of the individuality of characters from the peculiarity of their age’ (The Historical Novel (1937), p. 15) History in so-called historical novels ‘treat- ed as mere costumery’ (ibid., p. 15)

10 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ What is it about the history of the Roman- tic era that determines the rise of the his- torical novel proper in the shape of W in 1814? GL: ‘It was the French Revolution, the revolutionary wars and the rise and fall of Napoleon, which for the first time made history a mass experience, and moreover on a European scale’ (p. 20)

11 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ History post 1789 – accelerated pace of change felt on the pulses History post 1789 – creation of mass armies (contrast with the professionalized armies of preceding periods) History post 1789 – Napoleon single- handedly redraws the map of Europe (hence correlatively a concern with bor- ders and regions)

12 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ History post 1814 – the Napoleonic end- game (Britain gains ascendancy in Europe and on the world stage) History post 1814 – sense of 1814 itself as a watershed in European history (what course has history been following up to this point? what course is it likely to follow in the immediate future?)

13 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ Questions about the history of the past, present, and future are precisely those which inspire WS in the work he carries out for W Waverley; or, ’Tis Sixty Years Since – begun in 1805 (laid aside), resumed in 1810 (laid aside), completed in 1814

14 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ Jacobite Rebellion, – Jacobites vs. Hanoverians; uprising led by (the Catholic) Charles Edward Stuart (the ‘Young Pretender’), ends with the Battle of Culloden (1746) Scottish civil war – Highlands (romance) vs. Lowlands (realism) Romantic old Scotland defeated by its ‘modernizing’, pragmatic counterpart

15 Waverley as a ‘historical novel’ The lesson of 1745 (‘Sixty Years Since’): ‘realism’ the order of the day, both in pol- itics and in novel-writing Romance and realism in Scott: admiring attachment to the ways and passions of Highland clan society, but he is enough of a realist to realize that the future lies along the path of ‘modernization’ and moderation

16 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Edward Waverley – ‘Waverley’ by name and by nature See Fiona Robertson, ‘Waverley’, in Dun- can Wu, ed., A Companion to Romantic- ism (1998), pp

17 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero FR: ‘The technical innovation of Waverley is to tell a story of national history through the Bildungsroman (a novel tracing an individual’s growth into adulthood)…. In order to investigate the events of 1745 Scott invents a hero who, as his name indicates, is inclined to waver in his political loyalities’ (p. 213, emphasis add- ed)

18 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Waverley’s wavering – brought up in part by his father (a Hanoverian) and in part by his uncle (Jacobite leanings) In Scotland, develops an attachment to the Jacobite cause via his relationship with Flora Mac-Ivor Rejected by Flora, he eventually marries Rose Bradwardine (following his rehab- ilitation amongst the English forces)

19 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Marriage to Rose rather than Flora – the triumph of realism over romance: ‘the romance of his [W’s] life was ended... its real history had now commenced’ (Vol. III, Ch. xiii) Telling a national story through a Bildungsro- man – WS relates the history of the Scottish civil war from a popular viewpoint rather than from above Thus the idea that history has become a mass experience is affirmed by W

20 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero Note WS’s repeated deployment of the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero in his fiction – see Ivanhoe’s relationship to the Saxons and the Normans in Ivanhoe, for example Typically, the ‘fanaticism’ of extremes is rejected in favour of the conservatism of the ‘middle way’

21 Scott and the ‘middle-of-the-road’ hero The ideological programme of WS’s fiction – history is a series of crises, the way out of which in each case lies along the gold- en mean between opposing parties WS sees it that the nation needs to be or- ganized – not unlike a realist novel – in terms of an accommodation of the local within a larger structure

22 Scott and the question of empire On the idea of organizing nations as though they were forms of realist fiction (preserving what is local within a greater whole), see Eagleton, The English Novel TE: ‘The empire must be like this too, as Britain seeks to govern its colonial peo- ples, not despite their customs and beliefs, but through them’ (p. 101)

23 Scott and the question of empire TE: ‘A nation thus fortified [by accommodation of the local, by adopting the ‘middle way’] is then all the better furnished for its imperial role in the wider world’ (p. 101) W raises the question of Scotland as ‘colonial’ in relation to England as a metropolitan centre See further Michael Simpson, ‘Wavering on Europe: Walter Scott and the Equilibrium of Empires’, Romanticism, 11/2 (2005),

24 Scott and the question of empire MS: ‘Having sympathized in turn with the Low- landers, the Highlanders and now even with the French, Waverley finally projects his sympathy into the perspective of the English and looks at the Scots and the French as an Englishman would’ (p. 140)... Scotland seen as existing in a strategic al- ignment with England in WS’s imagination

25 Scott and the question of empire At the same time W seems – like MP – re- markable for how little, in respect of its strategic imagination, it stands in the way of ‘the accelerating imperial process’ (Said) post 1814 A concern about slavery appears now rep- licated in terms of a concern with region- alism...

26 Scott and the question of empire The material dependency of the centre on the margins (colonies, regions) a marked feature of the organization of the British empire in the nineteenth century (see also Jane Eyre) The degree of this dependency means that interrogation of colonialist practices is left off the political agenda

27 Scott and the question of empire The realist novel emerges as a literary form with which to ratify a silence about the imperial process in this period


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