Lunch with Sir Walter Scott

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I received a copy of Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, for Christmas. The edition they forced on us in high school convinced me that Sir Walter was an idiot. I was not aware that the editors had done him a mischief, tearing all the guts out of his book and leaving only the hollow shell of a rather silly story. So it was decades before mere curiosity–could it really have been that bad?–moved me to read it again.

And it blew me away. Ivanhoe is a truly great novel that richly deserved to be a classic.

But there’s another thing to love about my Christmas present. They’ve included all of Scott’s notes and footnotes on Ivanhoe–how he came by this or that tradition, this or that old song, what he was thinking when he had a character perform a certain action, etc. It’s the next best thing to having Sir Walter sitting across the room from you and talking to you.

How I would love to sit down with him over tea and cigars, for a nice long natter! He had a gift for taking the reader along with him as he wrote the story. He had a gift of self-deprecating humor. I’ll bet the two of us together could talk the sun across the sky.

Well, of course I can’t do that, unless it’s one of those things the Lord has in store for us in heaven. But what I can do is always be available to my readers–and friends!–right here, on this blog. Ask me anything about my books, or how I write them, whatever. I love talking about stories, and how they come to be told.

Wouldn’t that be cool, if some famous writer read this, and replied?

18 comments on “Lunch with Sir Walter Scott

    1. Once she’s finished writing “Oy, Rodney”–if that ever happens–we might prove her true identity. But I wouldn’t want to do it now. It might distract her.

  1. I never read Ivanhoe. Nobody I knew who read it liked it. But now I’m excited about reading it, and will. Who’d have thought I’d be properly educated by a well-known writer cum blogger in my later years? It seems my past is never where I left it. If you ever do someday sit down with a really great writer “over tea and cigars, for a nice long natter” please tape it and share it with us. Or even if you are alone and just thinking out loud…

    1. “Well known writer”–who, me? Last quarter I sold only a few more books that someone who hasn’t written any.
      But it’s nice of you to say so, and *very* much appreciated!

    2. Appreciation is all that matters. Would you rather be liked by ten people or loved by one? Dumb question – I’d rather sell 10 books than sell just 1 – lol.

    3. Loved, for sure.
      But it would be awful nice to see my work bear fruit. However God might choose to show it to me. It might take me a while to see it.

    4. “It seems my past is never where I left it.” I like that! Wish I’d said it. (Whistler to Oscar Wilde: “Don’t worry, Oscar. You will.”)

  2. What a wonderful edition! And yes, abridged editions that are forced on students do the students a disservice. A few years before I retired, some of us (faculty, that is) were talking about Samuel Richardson’s novel “Clarissa,” and we realized that except for the 18th century specialists among us, all of us had read only the abridged (!!!) 800-page edition in college and didn’t much care for it. So we decided to start a Clarissa Reading Group and read the entire 1,500-page edition together over the course of a quarter. And we loved it! The parts we read that had been omitted before really made the characters and events come alive, and explained a lot of things that hadn’t made sense to us when we were students.

    We had a great reading group — faculty from several different specialties plus a couple of advanced graduate students. We even had “Clarissa Reading Group” T-shirts made to wear during our meetings. 🙂

  3. I’m not a famous writer but I would like to reply 🙂 . I love reading the latest biographies of our founding fathers that have been written of late. I am currently reading “John Adams” by David McCllough. It is like being with Adams as you read his letters that have been preserved and the genius way McCullough into the story line. Most people don’t know our declaration of independence from young King George III was the work of John Adams.

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