Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Ravenswood Castle

Ravenswood Castle. Gothic fortress occupying a significant pass in Lammermoor (or Lammermuir) Hills, which straddle the border between the counties of Berwickshire and East Lothian in southeastern Scotland. A baronial seat in feudal times, the castle has deteriorated along with its resident family, passing out of their hands in the late seventeenth century, when Allan Lord Ravenswood was forced by a combination of political and financial misjudgments to sell the castle to the Lord Keeper, Sir William Ashton. Although Sir William undertakes considerable renovation work—in the course of which the banqueting hall is transformed into a library filled with legal commentaries and histories—the restoration of the house is temporary; it has fallen into ruins by the time that the tragic tale of Lucy Ashton is passed on to Jedidiah Cleishbotham by Richard Tinto.


Wolfscrag. Isolated tower on a narrow and precipitous peninsula jutting out from Scotland’s desolate North Sea coast between Eyemouth—a fishing village about eight miles north of Berwick-upon-Tweed—and Saint Abb’s Head, another five miles to the north. One of the first acquisitions of the Ravenswood family, the tower becomes their last when Allan Lord Ravenswood forfeits his title and removes himself there after losing the castle. Wolfscrag thus becomes the sole heritage of Allan’s son Edgar, who retains the ironic title of Master of Ravenswood as a matter of courtesy.

The tower is in a horribly dilapidated state, its rough...

(The entire section is 643 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

It has been noted that The Bride of Lammermoor is the most tragic of Scott's novels. When thinking of tragedy as a genre, whether in...

(The entire section is 690 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Inasmuch as history plays such a vital role in this novel, attention should be paid to the historical background of Britain at the turn of...

(The entire section is 689 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Bride of Lammermoor is the most tragic of Sir Walter Scott's works, and one that clearly resembles the novels of the Gothic...

(The entire section is 592 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The whole collection of Gothic novels (the "tales of terror") that came out in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries could be...

(The entire section is 107 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Given the highly dramatic nature of this novel, it is little wonder that it inspired one of the world's most popular operas: the frequently...

(The entire section is 34 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Brown, David. Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. A thorough discussion of Scott’s tragic plot and comic subplot. Compares the novel to other Scott novels and notes, focusing in particular on the similarities between The Bride of Lammermoor and Guy Mannering.

Johnson, Edgar. Sir Walter Scott: The Great Unknown. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1970. The standard biography of Scott. Regards the novel as a tragedy of character and fate—one in which the love affair is surrounded by an atmosphere of foreboding.

Kerr, James. Fiction Against History: Scott as Storyteller. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Considers the most fascinating feature of the novel to be its merging of pessimistic historical narrative with complex love story. Notes how the novel is a lament for the decline of the feudal order and a critique of the new order. Emphasizes the way in which Scott deploys gothic elements to develop a historical lesson found often in the Waverley novels.

Lauber, John. Sir Walter Scott. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1989. An excellent introduction. Has a chronology of Scott’s life, chapters on Scott’s career, poetry, and fiction, and a selected bibliography. Refers to the novel as a one of oaths and omens, signs and warnings.

Milgate, Jane. Walter Scott: The Making of the Novelist. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984. Discusses the legend surrounding the novel’s composition. Explores the importance of the dating of its action. Notes that the novel depicts a particular historical moment, one with which both Ravenswood and Sir William Ashton are out of step.