Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Scotland. Scott’s novelistic portrait of Scotland as a country, The Heart of Midlothian deals with the east and the west of Scotland, with Highlands and Lowlands. The novel presents the people of Scotland from many regions and classes, and the Scottish landscape in all its variety is described with great force and vividness. Scott sees Scotland as a country of beauty, independence, religious passion, courage, and, sometimes, violence and disruption. The finest qualities of Scotland are embodied in Jeanie Deans, who is virtually a national symbol in the novel.


*England. Scotland’s rich and powerful neighbor to the south. The novel is set early in the eighteenth century, shortly after Scotland and England have been united under one crown; however, it is still an uneasy union. Scott shows an England that is more civilized than Scotland but also more corrupt. The Scottish heroine Jeanie Deans’s simple honesty forms a striking contrast to the social facades and political intrigues of England. Also, England’s attitude toward Scotland tends to be impatient and dismissive. Its intrusion into Scottish matters of law produces at least in part the legal injustice and cruelty that are at the novel’s center. Jeanie Deans’s most memorable encounter with England comes at Richmond, where she sees the luxuriant beauty of southern England but expresses a preference for Scotland. There, she also encounters and finally wins over Queen Caroline of England.


*Midlothian. Old name for the region of Scotland around the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh.

*Tolbooth of Edinburgh

*Tolbooth of Edinburgh (edh-en-behr-OH). Edinburgh prison in which Effie Deans is confined. Known as the “Heart of Midlothian,” the prison in the novel represents a justice that has...

(The entire section is 773 words.)