Between 1821 and 1824 John Gibson Lockhart published four novels: only
Adam Blair has been regularly reprinted.
The History of Matthew Wald (1824), his other Scottish novel, is a gripping Gothic tale which can be compared with William Godwin’s or Charles Brockden Brown’s fiction. Walter Scott, Lockhart’s father-in-law, praised the »power» of this novel. Though there is some social comedy
à la Galt in
Matthew Wald, Lockhart is more concerned with Scotland as a spiritual and psychological environment than with social detail. He focuses on the hero’s mental torment, summing up the plot dynamics by saying, in a review article of his own novel, that »everything is decidedly and entirely subordinate to the minute and anxious, although easy and unaffected, anatomy of one man’s mind». Matthew’s plight can be seen as an emblem of Scotland’s unstable cultural identity in the Romantic period.
Together with an introduction this edition provides explanatory notes, a bibliography, a chronology of J.G. Lockhart, a note on the text and a glossary of Scots words.