Scott’s Narrative Poetry: The Borders and the Highland Margins

  • Susan Oliver


The years surrounding the first publication of the Minstrelsy ballads saw Scott involved in a number of projects that took him into other literary genres including the editing of medieval poetry (Sir Tristrem, 1804), original narrative poetry and the historical novel. (Lockhart states that the early chapters of Waverley had been drafted by 1805, though P. D. Garside has shown that these were in fact written in 1808.1) In each of these areas the influence of the Minstrelsy ballad traditions is paradigmatic. In this chapter, I shall look at the ways in which the move into writing narrative poetry, the most significant and successful pieces of which he published between 1805 and 1814, enabled Scott to develop his poetic and ideological agenda more fully and to make more specific contrasts between the border country with England and the margins between Scotland’s own Highlands and Lowlands.


Early Nineteenth Century Obsessive Passion Border Country Ritual Sacrifice Clan Culture 
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© Susan Oliver 2005

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  • Susan Oliver

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