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Chronicles of the Canongate

Walter Scott
Edited by Claire Lamont


Find Out What Scott Really Wrote

Going back to the original manuscripts, a team of scholars has uncovered what Scott originally wrote and intended his public to read before errors, misreadings and expurgations crept in during production.

The Edinburgh Edition offers you:

  • A clean, corrected text
  • Textual histories
  • Explanatory notes
  • Verbal changes from the first-edition text
  • Full glossaries

Title Description

Chronicles of the Canongate is unique among Scott's works as it is his only collection of shorter fiction. It contains his best-known tales, 'The Highland Widow' and 'The Two Drovers', and a third, less well known but of startling originality, 'The Surgeon's Daughter'. The three are set within the framing narrative of Chrystal Croftangry, an old bankrupt with pretensions to literature, who must inevitably be seen as a portrait of the artist facing up to his own insolvency in 1826.

Tales in a framework have a long ancestry in European and Oriental literature, and in Chronicles of the Canongate Scott adapts the genre with consummate skill. Each of the stories and Croftangry's narrative may be read independently, but together they constitute a themed work in which the narrator treats of the cultural conflicts in the new Britain and its growing empire in the thirty years from 1756.

This edition of Chronicles of the Canongate recovers a truly inventive work which is here republished in its original form for only the second time since Scott's death in 1832.

About the Author

Sir Walter Scott, was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet. Many of his works remain classics and include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

Claire Lamont is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Newcastle.


The Edinburgh Edition respects Scott the artist by 'restoring' versions of the novels that are not quite what his first readers saw. Indeed, it returns to manuscripts that the printers never handled, as Scott's fiction before 1827 was transcribed before it reached the printshop. Each volume of the Edinburgh edition presents an uncluttered text of one work, followed by an Essay on the Text by the editor of the work, a list of the emendations that have been made to the first edition, explanatory notes and a glossary … The editorial essays are histories of the respective texts. Some of them are almost 100 pages long; when they are put together they constitute a fascinating and lucid account of Scott's methods of compostion and his financial manoeuvres. This edition is for anyone who takes Scott seriously.
With a judicious mixture of historical fact, seductive legend and a vivid imagination, [Scott] invented an entire country, complete with custom, tradition, genealogy, even national dress. It was a country called Scotland and, for better or for worse, we are still living in it.
The great gain to literary studies of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels comes ... from those volumes which make available reliable and scrupulously annotated texts of novels long out of print and consequently little read.Editors deserve high praise for the vast amount of completley original research which has gone into them .. These are splendid and timely editions which will and should drive renewed critical work on Scott and his literary and historical contexts.

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