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The Fortunes Of Nigel

Walter Scott
Edited by Frank Jordan


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

Set at the end of the reign of James VI and I, The Fortunes of Nigel sits among Walter Scott's richest creations in political insight, range of characterisation and linguistic virtuosity.

Well versed in the political literature of the period, Scott drew a detailed picture of London in the early 17th century while charting the effects of Scottish influx into the English capital: the ambitions and fears of the incomers and the suspicion they aroused. The complex web of political (and sexual) intrigue, and especially of all-important financial dealings and double-dealings, is traced with a master's hand.

No Scott novel has a more memorable cast of characters. King James heads them, with his childish irresponsibility and elusive character: a would-be Solomon and father of his country, theological disputant, prurient bisexual. But not far behind are jeweller George Heriot, clockmaker Davie Ramsay, courtier Sir Mungo Malagrowther, servant Richie Moniplies and many vivid minor characters.

Steeped in Jacobean drama, this tale shows Scott revelling in the linguistic riches of the age. Previous editions have obscured his virtuosity (as seen in a dazzlingly proto-Joycean monologue by a Greenwich barber), but painstaking examination of the manuscript and proofs for this new edition allows the full vigour of Scott's achievement to be savoured for the first time.

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.

Frank Jordan is Professor Emeritus of English at Miami University, Ohio.


A part of our immediate response to these exemplary volumes is to feel the discrepancy between Scott's slapdash, hearty, headlong method of composition and the painstaking toil of his editors…the Edinburgh editors have reverted to the first editions, but have also combed the manuscripts for missed readings and lost material; some of the latter, such as the portraits of Edinburgh literati in Guy Mannering, are substantial discoveries.

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