This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for August 15, 2017: The Sound of Summer

August 15, 2017: birthday: Sir Walter Scott

Today is the birthday of the father of the historical novel: Sir Walter Scott (books by this author). He was born in Edinburgh in 1771 and grew up listening to his family’s tales of life on the Scottish border. He started off writing narrative romances in verse, and in 1805 he began a novel about the Jacobite revolt of 1745, but didn’t finish it. He contributed articles on “Chivalry,” “Romance,” and “Drama” to the fourth edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica from 1801 to 1809. He became a partner in a printing firm and saved it from bankruptcy in 1813, but between paying the firm’s debts and building his country house at Abbotsford, Scott nearly went under himself. In search of capital, he dusted off his unfinished novel and completed it in the summer of 1814. Waverly was published anonymously, and it was a critical and commercial success. He followed it with several more historical novels, among them Rob Roy (1817), The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), and Ivanhoe (1819).