Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Scott, [Sir] Walter

(1771-1832) Scottish poet and novelist who grew up fascinated with the Scottish and English border ballads, particularly those involving the supernatural, which interest culminated in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (coll 1802-1803 3 vols). His first substantial original work, the narrative poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805 chap), is indebted to medieval Romances; it involves the pranks of a Goblin page who steals the Spell-book of the legendary Wizard Michael Scot. WS wrote further narratives, mainly with historical settings (but including the forgettable Arthurian romance [> Arthur] The Bridal of Triermain [1813 chap]), until his popularity was eclipsed by Lord Byron, and he turned to writing historical novels. Although there are supernatural elements in several of these – e.g., Weland Smith appears in Guy Mannering (1815) – only The Monastery (1820) can fairly be called a fantasy, and that only through the character of the White Lady, a Fairy who is half-banshee-protectress and half-Puck. Supernatural elements elsewhere in WS's novels are usually rationalized. [LH]

[Sir] Walter Scott


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.