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
No historical figures appear in The Pirate, and there are no historical events, but it is still an historical novel because it dramatises those 'corners of time' where an old era is coming to an end, and a new is beginning. The novel is set in Orkney and Shetland in 1689, and for the northern isles the 'Glorious Revolution' actually means the beginning of the cultural dominance of Scotland and the advent of English power.
The plot hinges on an illicit relationship, and is driven by dark men twisted by their criminality, an obsessed woman searching for her lost son, and the murderous rivalry of two young men – a family tale which illustrates the uses and abuses of traditional lore, as well as Scott's extraordinary grasp of the literature of the north.
Scott draws heavily on the diary he kept on his tour round the lighthouses of Scotland in 1814. In both the diary and the novel he weighs the real need to improve the agricultural methods of this barely subsistence economy against the force of tradition and the human cost of rapid change.
About the Author
Alison Lumsden is a senior lecturer in the School of Language & Literature at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the Walter Scott Research Centre. She was for many years research fellow and then General Editor for the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels and has published on several Scottish authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd and Louis Grassic Gibbon. She is about to begin work on a scholarly edition of Scott's poetry.
Weinstein and Lumsden have corrected almost 500 readings and misunderstandings … they have also restored some sixty dialectical words that the original editors had changed to Standard English. For work like this they deserve unstinting praise ... What would Scott say about this new edition? I suspect he would be surprised at how much Weinstein and Lumsden have let him get away with … and pleased that so many downright errors have been corrected, at long last.
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.