- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: OUP UK (12 July 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199538395
- ISBN-13: 978-0199538393
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.8 x 12.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,87,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Heart of Midlothian (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 12 Jul 2010
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The plot is simple. Jeanie Deans is a young Calvinist lass who is engaged to be married to a poor schoolmaster named Reuben Butler. During the 1736 riots in Edinburgh, in which Captain Porteous a tax agent was murdered by hanging, Jeanie's younger sister Effie is accused of murdering her newborn child. Effie is imprisoned and condemned to death. Jeanie seeks to save her life by appealing to Queen Caroline in London who is the wife of King George II of Great Britain. As Jeanie travels on her long jaunt from Edinburgh to London the reader meets a broad crosssection of Scottish and English persons who assist the young girl on her quest for justice. Jeanie is one of the most appealing heroines in all of British fiction.
The book is not only fascinating for this heartwarming story but also lluminates:
a. The relationship between poor Scotland and wealthy England in the immediate years following the union of the two nations in 1707.
b. A look at the religious differences between episocapcy supported by the English and the stern
Calvinist Presbyterianism in Scotland
c. A nostalgic look at Scottish life as it moves from an agricultural to an industrialized age.
d. Like Charles Dickens, Scott was good at drawing eccentric minor characters which add richness and humor to this long novel.
And now for a caveat. Scott's novels are always difficult reading! He relishes in making authorial comments on the characters behavior and retards the action with long digressions on politics, religion and other aspects of Scottish life which may not have been familiar to his English readers. This material is often interesting but adds too many pages to his tale. The last quarter of the book needs editing as the decision regarding the fate of Effie Deans has already been decided by that point.
Scott's books require a glossary of Scottish words, customs and phrases which are necessary to aid the 21st century reader's understanding of the novel. Scott was the first major historical novelists in the English language. His novels broke new ground by interesting male and young readers in exciting epic fictions. He was widely popular in his own day. A resurgence of interest in this important author is long overdue. Scott is an excellent writer but it takes concentration and study to enjoy his books. The Heart of Mid-Lothian was published in 1818 and has never been out of print.
A great of English literature and a must read.