Waverley (novel)

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Waverley is an 1814 historical novel by Sir Walter Scott. Initially published anonymously in 1814 as Scott's first venture into prose fiction, Waverley is often regarded as the first historical novel. It became so popular that Scott's later novels were advertised as being "by the author of Waverley". His series of works on similar themes written during the same period have become collectively known as the "Waverley Novels".

In 1815, Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley". It is thought that at this meeting Scott persuaded George that as a Stuart prince he could claim to be a Jacobite Highland Chieftain, a claim that would be dramatised when George became King and visited Scotland.[1]

Waverley Abbey is noted by English Heritage to be Sir Walter Scott's inspiration for this novel.[2] However, this was probably not the case.[3]


Plot introduction

Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.

Plot summary

The English eponymous protagonist, Edward Waverley, has been brought up in the family home by his uncle, Sir Everard Waverley, who maintains the family Tory and Jacobite sympathies, while Edward's Whig father works for the Hanoverian government in nearby London. Edward Waverley is given a commission in the Hanoverian army and is posted to Dundee, then promptly takes leave to visit Baron Bradwardine, a Jacobite friend of his uncle, and meets the Baron's lovely daughter Rose.

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