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Prefacing the Waverley Prefaces

A Reading of Sir Walter Scott Prefaces to the Waverley Novels


Patricia S. Gaston

This is an extended reading of both the initial and the Magnum Opus prefaces to Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels. Instead of being poorly crafted, expendable fluff, the prefaces describe Scott's theory of the historical novel - the subgenre he «invented» - and of historiography itself. The prefaces include an intricate arrangement of authorial personae, raising the essential questions concerning historical source material and narrative authority.
Contents: This book addresses how the prefaces to Sir Walter Scott's historical novels use authorial personae, authorial anonymity, the found manuscript motif, and imagery of the novel as commercial venture to describe a theory of historiography.