‘Waverley’ is among Walter Scott’s first novels and one of the original Western historical novels. The sprawling story takes place during the Jacobite Rising from 1745 and follows the life of Edward Waverley, a British soldier who falls in love with a Scottish woman and joins a revolutionary army. ‘Waverley’ shows why Scott is considered one of the forefathers of European romanticism, as the tale follows an individual hero on a grand journey through beautifully vivid settings. However, Edward Waverley follows in the footsteps of ‘Don Quixote’ as a protagonist whose dreams of heroism are difficult to achieve. This dramatic tale has elements of picaresque comedy as Scott creates a less than heroic protagonist that finds himself in ironic situations that he is ill-prepared for. Political intrigue, romance, and breathtakingly beautiful depictions of the Scottish landscape are Scott’s trademark elements that make this classic novel a rewarding read. ‘Waverley’ was celebrated at the time of its release for an accurate portrayal of Gaelic revolutionaries, but it remains timeless due to its poignant storytelling and lyrical prose. ‘Waverley’ is recommended for fans of historical fiction or romanticism.
Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish writer, poet, and historian. Fascinated by traditional storytelling, during the 1790s Scott dedicated himself to researching and collecting ballads and published the epic collection ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’ in 1802. A prominent poet, Scott also wrote and published a range of poems, including the popular ‘The Lady of the Lake.’ His first historical novel ‘Waverley’ was published in 1814, whereupon it was an immediate success, receiving critical acclaim and selling out many printings. His best-known work ‘Ivanhoe’ followed in 1820. Scott died in 1832 at the age of 61. He was commemorated after his death with monuments in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and New York due to his impact on western literature. His literary works influenced and inspired many other great authors such as Virginia Woolf. Internationally renowned, Scott’s literary legacy continues to be felt all over the world to this day.