|12-26-2008, 02:15 PM||#1|
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Scott, Sir Walter: Guy Mannering. V1. 26 Dec 2008
In some ways Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers all over Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
Guy Mannering is set in the 1760s to 1780s, mostly in the Galloway area of south west Scotland. It tells the story of Harry Bertram, the son of the Laird of Ellangowan, who is kidnapped at the age of five by smugglers after witnessing the murder of a customs officer. It follows the fortunes and adventures of Henry and his family in subsequent years, and the struggle over the inheritance of Ellangowan. The novel also depicts the lawlessness that existed at the time, when smugglers operated along the coast and thieves frequented the country roads.
The title character, Guy Mannering, is a relatively minor character in the story, a friend of the family who uses his knowledge of astrology to predict Henry's future on the day of his birth.
The book is notable for some of its minor characters. The most important of these is the old gypsy woman Meg Merrilies, who is evicted from the Bertram lands early in the novel. In spite of this she remains loyal to the Bertram family, and much of the plot is dependent on her actions. She was based on an 18th century gypsy named Jean Gordon. Dandie Dinmont is a rough but friendly farmer from the Liddesdale hills, who owns a number of terriers - the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is named after him. Dominie Sampson, according to Nuttall, was "a poor, modest, humble scholar, who had won his way through the classics, but fallen to the leeward in the voyage of life". "Dominie" is the Lowland Scots term for a school master. Tib Mumps was the disreputable landlady of the inn where an important meeting takes place between Meg Merrilies and Bertram. The inn was later revealed by Scott to be based upon Mumps Hall in Gilsland.
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