Recommend to your Librarian

The Talisman

Walter Scott
Edited by J. B. Ellis, J. H. Alexander, P. D. Garside, David Hewitt

"I found revisiting The Talisman, set in the Third Crusade before the siege of Acre, an exciting and enthralling experience, the suspense building from the novel’s remarkable opening to the revelations as it nears its conclusion. The depictions of Sir Kenneth/Prince David, Richard Coeur de Lion, Saladin, and the Templar are admirably wrought and the central paradox at the heart of the novel is a striking one; in Judith Wilt’s words “the Christian chivalric ideal embodies itself, arrow within secret desert leaves, in the Arab Saladin, and its enemy is the atheist warrior priest, the Templar"." - European Romantic Review

The second volume in the Tales of the Crusaders, The Talisman is set in Palestine during the Third Crusade (1189–92). Scott constructs a story of chivalric action, apparently adopting a medieval romance view of the similarities in the values of both sides. But disguise is the leading theme of the tale: it is not just that characters frequently wear clothing that conceals their identity, but that professions and cultures hide their true nature. In this novel the Christian leaders are divided by a factious criminality, and are contrasted to the magnanimity and decisiveness of Saladin, the leader of the Moslem armies. In a period when the west was fascinated with the exotic east, Scott represents the Moslem other as more humane than the Christian west.

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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.

J. B. Ellis is a retired lecturer in English Literature, the University of Edinburgh.

J. H. Alexander is Reader Emeritus in English at the University of Aberdeen.

Peter Garside is Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He is Executive/General Editor of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels (EEWN), and was Advisory/Associate General Editor the Stirling/South Carolina Edition of the Collected Works of James Hogg 1991-2010.

David Hewitt was Regius Chalmers Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen and is Editor-in-chief of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels.


...essential reading for any serious scholar of Scott.  They are also sure to delight the interested general reader.
- Susan Oliver, University of Essex, Scottish Literary Review

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