” And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but death who comes at last.”
– Sir Walter Scott
Romanticism was a complex artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the eighteenth century in Western Europe, and gained strength during and after the Industrial and French Revolution. It was partly a revolt against the political norms of the Age of Enlightenment which rationalized nature and was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature. Walter Scott was one of the best products of his age. A Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright, and historian. Many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. after ten years of great success as a writer of romances in verse, Scott turned from the romance in verse to prose fiction, and that he was led to make this change in part because the original vein which he had opened up was getting exhausted, and in part because the sudden rise of Byron threatened the supremacy which he had long enjoyed.
It is thought most likely that he began a narrative with an English setting in 1808 and laid it aside. The success of his Highland narrative poem The Lady of the Lake in 1810 seems to have put it into his head to resume the narrative and have his hero Edward Waverley journey to Scotland. Although Waverley was announced for publication at that stage, it was again laid and not resumed until late 1813 and completed for publication in 1814. Scott was an almost exclusively historical novelist. Of his 27 novels only one (Saint Ronan’s Well) has an entirely modern setting. The dates of the action in the others range from 1794 in The Antiquary back to 1096 or 1097, the time of the First Crusade, in Count Robert of Paris. Sixteen take place in Scotland. The first nine, from Waverley (1814) to A Legend of Montrose (1819), all have Scottish locations, and 17th- or 18th-century settings. Scott was better versed in his material than anyone: he was able to draw on oral tradition as well as a wide range of written sources in his ever-expanding library (many of them rare, and some of them unique copies).In general, it is these pre-1820 novels that have attracted the attention of modern academic critics—especially: Waverley with its presentation of those 1745 Jacobites drawn from the Highland clans as obsolete and fanatical idealists.
The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is named after Scott’s Waverley novels.
Following Scott’s death in 1832, a competition was held to design a monument to him. An unlikely entrant went under the pseudonym “John Morvo”, the medieval architect of Melrose Abbey. Morvo was in fact George Meikle Kemp, 45-year-old joiner, draftsman, and self-taught architect. He had feared that his lack of architectural qualifications and reputation would disqualify him, but his design was popular with the competition’s judges, and they awarded him the contract to construct the monument in 1838.
John Steell was commissioned to design a monumental statue of Scott to rest in the centre space within the tower’s four columns. It is made from white Carrara marble and shows Scott seated, resting from writing one of his works with a quill pen, his dog Maida by his side. The monument carries 64 figures of characters from Scott’s novels, sculpted by Scots sculptors. The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1840. Construction began in 1841 following permission by Parliament’s Monument to Sir Walter Scott Act and ran for nearly four years. It was completed in the autumn of 1844, with Kemp’s son placing the finial in August of the year. The total cost was just over £16,154. The monument was inaugurated on 15 August 1846, but George Meikle Kemp was absent. He had fallen into the Union Canal while walking home from the site and drowned on the foggy evening of 6 March 1844.
The Scott monument constantly reminds us, as members of the human race to acknowledge the contribution of Sir Walter Scott, to our precious literature which influences humanity till day.