Sir Walter Scott was a very successful writer during the beginning of the 19th century. Born and raised in Scotland, many say that Sir Walter Scott had a very significant impact on the culture of Scotland. From writing about daring knights to making kilts fashionable attire, Scott was a cultural icon at the time. But how much influence did Scott truly have on the cultural influence of Scotland? Scott was the most culturally significant author, for Scotland, in the 19th century.
The early life of Sir Walter Scott was riddled with tragedy and struggle. The Scotts resided in the Old District of Edinburgh. Out of the twelve children in the Scott family, only five survived their early youth. The hardest part of Walter Scott’s childhood was when he was struck with polio which crippled his right leg. These terrible events may have been brought about by the poor conditions in the city. To protect their crippled son, the Scotts sent Walter away to live with his paternal grandfather in the countryside. During his time in the countryside Sir Walter Scott reveled in ancient Scottish folklore told by his grandfather. He took great interest in Scottish history and culture. “Here, in the country air, he became a sturdy boy, and his mind was stored with the old Broder tales and songs” (Lockhart). After leaving the countryside as a young adult, Scott undertook many trips around Scotland to hear the folklore shared by the people. These old tales of Scottish history inspired Scott to write in the romantic style.
Sir Walter Scott’s early influences helped dictate his future as a romanticist writer. Characterized by their removal from rational thoughts romanticist writers believe that feelings are above all and that a deeper meaning can be found in everyday things. Romanticism was a literary rebellion against the rising industrialization of the world. People would turn to romantic writing to add feeling to their dull lives. It was also a movement against the religious reformation that was occurring in the world. Because Romanticism was such an international movement, Scott’s adaptation of this style helped boost his popularity on an international level.
Sir Walter Scott was Scotland’s first truly internationally renowned author (Mackenzie 2008). This international recognition was vital to Scotland at the time. Politically, Scotland had just recently fallen under the rule of the English crown. Scott started a cultural separation between Scotland and England that continues to this day. Not only did he achieve this separation though his writing, but he also made kilts fashionable again in Scotland by inviting the king to wear one during his visit there. This separation has caused Scotland to maintain its own cultural identity despite being politically intertwined with England.
Whetter asserts that Scott should be credited for writing the first historical novel, Waverly (28). This statement confirms Scott’s unique style was revolutionary for the time. Scott wrote about...