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The Abbot

Walter Scott


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

The Abbot concludes the fiction begun in The Monastery. Scott follows the fortunes of young Roland Graeme as he emerges from rural obscurity to become an attendant of Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity in Lochleven Castle. Roland's part in Mary's escape from the Castle is excitingly narrated, and Mary herself is vividly characterised in captivity, in her brief period of freedom, and in her final defeat.

Based on the first edition, this new text restores, from Scott's manuscript and from the evidence of early American editions set from proof sheets at different stages, nearly 2000 authorial readings hitherto omitted. It has also been possible for the first time, on the evidence of history, to make coherent the family relationships in the novel.

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.


Christopher Johnson, who works in the House of Lords, has produced a magisterial edition of the neglected novel as part of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels … In short, this addition to The Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels is remarkable value. Christopher Johnson's edition of The Abbot should be in every library collecting material on the great Sir Walter Scott and on Scottish-English relationships. Highly recommended.
- Professor William Baker, Northern Illinois University
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the appearance of two more volumes in the new critical Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels … both volumes are truly impressive jobs of scholarly editing, and they are handsomely designed and printed.
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 composition and his financial manoeuvres. This edition is for anyone who takes Scott seriously.
The volumes have been carefully and critically edited from the original manuscripts and now the texts, which in each case capture large numbers of readings never before printed and clear away elements of corruption in existing editions, are as close to what Scott originally wrote as the skills of the editorial team can make them.

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