The First Historical Novel

Sir Walter Scott was one of the most popular writers of the nineteenth century.  Some critics of the day even dared to compare him with Shakespeare.  Though his popularity waned in the twentieth century and few of his works are read today, he has the distinction of being the first writer to pen an historical novel – a genre that became very popular, not only in Britain and America, but in France and Russia as well.  The first of the many historical novels Scott wrote was Waverley, the tale of a naive English soldier who becomes enmeshed in the rebellion of the Scottish Highlands led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 (the setting is similar to that found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped).  This novel is the most recent book added to the Notes on Classic Literature found on this website.