Abstract

The marriage of Henry Morton, one of the commanders of the Covenanter army defeated at Bothwell Bridge, to Edith Bellenden, heiress of a Royalist family, resembles that of Waverley and Rose Bradwardine in its exemplary reconciliation of antagonistic factions and cultures. On the political and historical level, it is the constitutional principles and religious tolerance won by the Glorious Revolution which allow the exiled Morton to return, and his long-delayed love story to reach consummation. As in Waverley, there are prices to be paid for this resolution: the hero’s principal rival must once again be permanently removed — yet retained in admiring memory — before the wedding can take place. But in Old Mortality his is by no means the only significant death. As the novel’s title suggests, mortality here is omnipresent.

Keywords

Burning Vortex Corn Europe Foam 

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Notes

  1. 5.
    Jane Millgate, Walter Scott: The Making of the Novelist (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), 128.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Hart paraphrasing Coleridge, Scott’s Novels (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1966), 86.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    James Reed, Sir Walter Scott: Landscape and Locality (London: The Athlone Press, 1980), 4.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    ‘Informing the narrative act of Old Mortality ... was a distrust of ... reenactment and memory.’ Ina Ferris, The Achievement of Literary Authority (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 164–5.Google Scholar
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    Aspects of the Novel (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962), 38. See also H. J. C. Grierson, Sir Walter Scott, Bart.: A New Life (London: Constable, 1938), 159.Google Scholar
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    See Bruce Beiderwell, Power and Punishment in Scott’s Novels (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 47.Google Scholar
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    James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative of 1757, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983), 157.Google Scholar
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    Unless one adds a third adversary, modern critical opinion, which doggedly asserts, for example, that ‘no woman in the Leatherstocking Tales belongs to herself’. Nina Baym, ‘The Women in Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales’, American Quarterly 23 (1971), 703. Baym makes a partial exception of Judith Hutter of The Deerslayer, after disqualifying the admirable Mabel Dunham of The Pathfinder on the grounds that her strengths are essentially male, and that, besides, she is lower-class. But Cora resembles both these women, and has a kinship as well with other self-assertive Cooper heroines, such as Anneke Mordaunt of Satanstoe or Katherine Plowden of The Pilot.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The Eccentric Design (London: Chattow and Windus, 1959), 77. Compare, also, Richard Chase: ‘When the American novel attempts to resolve contradictions, it does so in oblique, morally equivocal ways.’ The American Novel and Its Tradition (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1957), 1.Google Scholar
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    René Girard, The Scapegoat, trans. Yvonne Freccero (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
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    For a discussion of tragedy in this context, see in particular Chapter 3 of Girard’s Violence and the Sacred, trans. Patrick Gregory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), and Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 40–2.Google Scholar

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© Ian Dennis 1997

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  • Ian Dennis

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