Sir Walter Scott World Literature Analysis
Because late twentieth century literary fashions made Scott’s kind of writing unfashionable, his status has slipped; like most of the top Victorian writers— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—he has fallen from favor in the audiovisual age. That is unfair. Scott not only altered the course of nineteenth century literature but also profoundly influenced Western culture. He developed an image of the popular hero that became standard, and this image continues to affect both behavior and education, to shape the values of both individuals and nations.
This influence occurred not just because he was, by any standard, the best-selling novelist of his time and one of the most reprinted of the nineteenth century. Scott was the first English writer to realize a comfortable living from writing; he would have been rich, had he not invested badly. Furthermore, he reaped profits before the passage of any international copyright act protecting him from foreign reprinting and translations. Imitators materialized everywhere; within five years, every nation, and practically every region, boasted of its own Scott—the United States, for example, celebrated James Fenimore Cooper.
The cult of historical fiction that he pioneered transformed novel writing in far-reaching, yet often unperceived, ways. For example, after Scott, practically every major novelist in England adopted the historical point of view. Thus, Dickens...
(The entire section is 2099 words.)
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