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Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Sir Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh. As a child he was stricken by polio, so he was lame and ry delicate: he couldn't do anything but read. His literary reputation was at first based on poetry: all on Scottish lore and life. So he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Scotland: in fact he red legends, history, tales and story of Scotland. Then Scott turned to prose: he wrote Warly (1814), a story in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745; Guy Mannering (1815) and The Antiquary (1816). Scott had a vogue for historical nols.

▪ Warly (1814), a story in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745;
▪ Guy Mannering (1815);
▪ The Antiquary (1816);
▪ Rob Roy (1818);
▪ The Bride of Lammelor (1819): is the plot for Donizzetti's opera;
▪ Ivanhoe (1820) set in the Middle Ages at the end of the 12th century, during the reign of king Richard I the Lionheart in the forest of Sherwood. It describes the struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans.

These works are written in 3rd person narrator; Scott is an omniscient narrator and obtrusi. He had an enormous influence throughout Europe: Russia (Gogol, Puskin, Tolstoj); France (Victor Hugo, Dumas, Balzac; Stendhal); Germany (Hauff, Fontane); America (Cooper, Hawthorne) and Italy (Guerrazzi, Manzoni). Scott's nols are a bridge between the Gothic nol and the serial narratis of the 19th century:

Gothic Scott
▪ Use the past as a setting ▪ Records historical ents faithfully
▪ Describes the way of life of all classes (the poor, the middle classes etc.)

The Betrothed (1825/27, revisited in 1842) by A.Manzoni
Manzoni is the chief exponent of the Italian Romanticism: Promessi Sposi is considered the greatest masterpiece of Italian fiction. Manzoni wrote an historical nol after seeing the great popularity that Scott's nols enjoyed. Manzoni admitted his debt to Scott in a letter to his friend Fauriel. Manzoni tok common people as main characters (as Scott) and ga a vision of history as experienced by ordinary people (as Scott). Promessi Sposi is set in the Lombardy of 17th century (it is a regional nol) during the period of the Milanese insurrection against Spanish domination. So Manzoni ga a patriotical ideal of absent national identity; so it underlines also the hatred for Hapsburg domination.
It is a story of two peasants whose lo is opposed by the local tyrant, supported by the coward local priest. The hero and the heroine are two unknown peasants. The plot is well organised, the style is elegant also because the numerous revisions. Manzoni deals with time facts (historical ents) because he has done a detailed historical research into papers and documents of the past. Very important in this nol is the theme of the Christian faith because Manzoni thinks that God internes in all human matters: Providence. Manzoni feels a strong aspiration towards justice and morality; he has no special feelings for nature.

Scott's works
Scott has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Scottish history, past and customs. He is able to recreate the atmosphere of past ages. The Romantic atmosphere is characterised by heroism, honour, loyalty, courage and moral code like chivalrous adntures: extraordinary and improbable. He proposes his nol to a society affected by commercial pressures and spiritual porty. The Romantic atmosphere is also supported by beautiful natural descriptions. Scott tells about historical ents with imaginary heroes: he is not historically accurate because he does not go deeply into the cause of the historical ents. He looks to the ents with the eyes of a faithful reporter, so he is ry good at portraying peasants, humble folk, criminals, braggarts but he is less convincing portraying his heroes and heroines.

Both Manzoni and Scott:
▪ use 3rd person narrator;
▪ gi an important role to common and humble people;
▪ use sense of humour;
▪ study old documents;
▪ ha a strong sense of realism;
▪ use long digressions, especially in historical ents (taken from Fielding and Sterne).

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