Author. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland the son of Anne Rutherford and Walter Scott, a solicitor. An illness in early childhood found him convalescing at his grandfather's farm the Scottish Borders, a region that captured his imagination, eventually he spent time collecting traditional songs and legends of the area. He attended the High School of Edinburgh, and studied at Edinburgh University. In 1786, his father insisted he apprentice as an attorney in his office. In 1799 he was appointed sheriff depute (magistrate) of Selkirkshire. His first literary works, published anonymously, were translations of German Romantic verse. In 1802, his first major work 'Minstrelsey of the Scottish Border,' was published, containing versions of traditional Scottish ballads. In 1806, he was appointed clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, allowing both income and free time to write. His narrative poem 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' (1805), was followed by 'Marmion' (1808); 'The Lady of the Lake' (1810); 'The Bridal of Triermain' (1813), 'The Lord of the Isles' (1815), and 'Harold the Dauntless' (1817). As a poet, however, he became eclipsed by Lord Byron and turned instead to writing novels. Credited with establishing the genre of historical fiction, he brought novels a new respectability, although his first novel, 'Waverley,' was published anonymously in 1814. Other works such as 'Guy Mannering,' and 'The Astrologer' followed in 1815; 'Rob Roy' (1817); 'A Legend of Montrose' and 'Ivanhoe' in 1819; 'The Talisman' in 1825; 'Kenilworth' (1821) and 'Woodstock' (1826) written under at least five pen names. In 1820, he was created a baronet in recognition of his work. He joined James Ballantyne and his brother as a silent partner in their publishing house, John Ballantyne & Co. which subsequently ran into debt, he then tried to write his way out of, driving himself to exhaustion. After suffering a series of strokes, he died at the age of 61. He was one of the most popular writers in Britain and the United States during the nineteenth century, and many of his works are still in print.
Bio by: Iola
Charlotte Margaret Carpenter Scott
1770–1826 (m. 1797)