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The Pirate (Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels) [Hardcover]

Sir Walter Scott , Mark Weinstein , Alison Lumsden
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 April 2001 Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels
No historical figures appear in The Pirate, and there are no historical events, but it is still an historical novel because it dramatises those 'corners of time' where an old era is coming to an end, and a new is beginning. The novel is set in Orkney and Shetland in 1689, and for the northern isles the 'Glorious Revolution' actually means the beginning of the cultural dominance of Scotland and the advent of English power. Scott draws heavily on the diary he kept on his tour round the lighthouses of Scotland in 1814. In both the diary and the novel he weighs the real need to improve the agricultural methods of this barely subsistence economy against the force of tradition and the human cost of rapid change. The plot hinges on an illicit relationship, and is driven by dark men twisted by their criminality, an obsessed woman searching for her lost son, and the murderous rivalry of two young men - a family tale which illustrates the uses and abuses of traditional lore, as well as Scott's extraordinary grasp of the literature of the north.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 607 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (10 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0748605762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0748605767
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,936,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Weinstein and Lumsden have corrected almost 500 readings and misunderstandings ! they have also restored some sixty dialectical words that the original editors had changed to Standard English. For work like this they deserve unstinting praise ... What would Scott say about this new edition? I suspect he would be surprised at how much Weinstein and Lumsden have let him get away with ! and pleased that so many downright errors have been corrected, at long last. The Edinburgh Edition respects Scott the artist by 'restoring' versions of the novels that are not quite what his first readers saw. Indeed, it returns to manuscripts that the printers never handled, as Scott's fiction before 1827 was transcribed before it reached the printshop. Each volume of the Edinburgh edition presents an uncluttered text of one work, followed by an Essay on the Text by the editor of the work, a list of the emendations that have been made to the first edition, explanatory notes and a glossary ! The editorial essays are histories of the respective texts. Some of them are almost 100 pages long; when they are put together they constitute a fascinating and lucid account of Scott's methods of compostion and his financial manoeuvres. This edition is for anyone who takes Scott seriously. Weinstein and Lumsden have corrected almost 500 readings and misunderstandings ! they have also restored some sixty dialectical words that the original editors had changed to Standard English. For work like this they deserve unstinting praise ... What would Scott say about this new edition? I suspect he would be surprised at how much Weinstein and Lumsden have let him get away with ! and pleased that so many downright errors have been corrected, at long last. The Edinburgh Edition respects Scott the artist by 'restoring' versions of the novels that are not quite what his first readers saw. Indeed, it returns to manuscripts that the printers never handled, as Scott's fiction before 1827 was transcribed before it reached the printshop. Each volume of the Edinburgh edition presents an uncluttered text of one work, followed by an Essay on the Text by the editor of the work, a list of the emendations that have been made to the first edition, explanatory notes and a glossary ! The editorial essays are histories of the respective texts. Some of them are almost 100 pages long; when they are put together they constitute a fascinating and lucid account of Scott's methods of compostion and his financial manoeuvres. This edition is for anyone who takes Scott seriously.

About the Author

Mark Weinstein is Professor of English Literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Alison Lumsden is a senior lecturer in the School of Language & Literature at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the Walter Scott Research Centre. She was for many years research fellow and then General Editor for the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels and has published on several Scottish authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd and Louis Grassic Gibbon. She is about to begin work on a scholarly edition of Scott's poetry.

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First Sentence
THAT LONG, NARROW, and irregular island, usually called the Mainland of Zetland, because it is by far the largest of the Archipelago, terminates, as is well known to the mariners who navigate the stormy seas which surround the Thule of the ancients, in a c Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I suppose at least you get the story 7 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story itself is good to read, but this edition is rubbish. It appears to have been cobbled together without thought for presentation, spacing or, indeed, any care for placing the footnotes/endnotes in the appropriate place. The publisher has apparently decided to use a particular size page and just included the text from another edition, fitting it in as best they can. The presentation makes reading a chore. I cannot recommend this edition of The Pirate at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Johnny Depp here. 12 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback
THE PIRATE

SIR WALTER SCOTT

"THAT long, narrow, and irregular island, usually called the Mainland of Zetland, because it is by far the largest of that Archipelago, terminates, as is well known to the mariners who navigate the stormy seas which surround the Thule of the ancients, in a cliff of immense height, entitled Sumburgh-Head, which presents its bare scalp and naked sides to the weight of a tremendous surge, forming the extreme point of the isle to the south-east."

The work of the prolific Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott, is sadly no longer thought of as fashionable to read.

Ask people what he wrote, and the most popular answer I am sure would be `Ivanhoe', `Rob Roy' or perhaps `The Lady of the Lake'.

'Ivanhoe', like `Rob Roy' were part of Scott's Waverley Novels as was one of my favourite books by him, and the one I am reviewing here, The Pirate'; this book was seventh in the series and was published in December1821.

The Pirate is set in 17th-century Shetland (Jetland in Scott's book) and centres on the rivalry between the gallant Mordaunt Mertoun and the buccaneer Clement Cleveland. It was based roughly on the life of John Gow who features as Captain Cleveland.

Think beyond the language of the novel and get your tongue round the rather strange names, you will find that you are reading a mystery, rather like a modern detective story.

In this book though you will have to be vigilant, keeping a look out for clues so that you can unravel them as they appear. Remember if Scott introduces a character, that character is there for a reason.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An attractive journey 14 Jun 2013
By scotlit
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a tale that is hard to put down. It starts in Shetland, then the action moves to Orkney - and, move it does, the end of one chapter, leading the reader on to the next, keen to know what happened then . . . But, only four stars, for there is a problem with the scanning of the book for the Kindle version. Inverted commas become question marks in square brackets - and, occurring as frequently as they do, it is annoying. But, given the Kindle version costs less than a 1, can the reader complain? Well, yes, since many of the free books are perfectly scanned.
But, do buy this book - it is well worth reading - square bracketed question marks not withstanding.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My lover must be a Sea-King." 2 July 2007
By T. Patrick Killough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Walter Scott's 1821 novel builds relentlessly to its mystery-unraveling climax in a few weeks of the summer of 1689. Most of THE PIRATE plays out on the "Mainland" of Scotland's Shetland (Scott's Jetland) Islands. The scene shifts in August at novel's climax 60 miles south to Kirkwall and Scapa Floe in the Orkneys.

In the prequel, a vague five or ten years before 1689, a dark, morose, woman-hating disguised pirate, Basil Mertoun, with his neglected young son Mordaunt, had retired from the sunny Caribbean. Mertoun Senior did not lack funds and rented Jarlshof, a ruined stone dwelling on Sumburgh Head, southernmost promontory of the Jetland mainland, hundreds of feet above the tempestuous sea.

Genial landlord of Basil and Mordaunt Mertoun is wealthy shipping magnate and whale hunter Magnus Troil, descendant of ancient Norwegian Earls. Magnus lives twenty trackless miles north of Sumburgh Head at Burgh Westra. He has two beautiful, innocent daughters, Minna and Brenda. They were orphaned when their mother died a dozen or so years earlier. Minna is a natural leader, dark, fearless, mystical and immersed in the lore of the old Vikings. Brenda is younger, blonde, timid, but thoroughly sceptical of Jetland's pre-Christian Nordic beliefs. "Minna believed them without trembling and ... Brenda trembled without believing them" (Ch. 19).

The girls have a first cousin once removed, dear to their father, born Ulla Troil, better known for the past 25 years as the witch or prophetess "Auld Norna of Fitful Head" (the latter being the place of her lofty Jetland abode). Norna embodies and preaches the old Norwegian language and ways. She claims to rule winds and waves and is treated with respect and awe by the islanders. Norna appears wherever and whenever she pleases and regularly and successfully predicts the future.

In the spring of 1689 Mordaunt is 20, Minna 18 and Brenda 17. Mordaunt's father is inexplicably cold to him. So young Mordaunt is on his own. When he is not out climbing cliffs, shooting birds or learning to be a fisherman, he spends many, many happy weeks visiting Burgh Westra and the Troils. He loves both Minna and Brenda equally well, as his sisters. He is the best dancer in the islands and the light of every party.

One April afternoon he sets out for home after a stay at Burgh Westra. Halfway to Jarlshof a terrible storm forces Mordaunt to seek shelter at the only nearby house, called, indifferently, Stourburgh or Harfra. There lives the English agricultural pioneer Triptolemus Yellowley and his sister Barbara, commonly called Mistress Baby. Yellowley is official representative of the Scottish overlord of the Orkneys and Shetlands and is there to improve agricultural and livestock practices. Auld Norna arrives and abates the storm. Also there seeking shelter is an ostensibly comic character, the devious merchant Bryce Snailsfoot. By this point almost all the novel's principal movers have been introduced and the plot becomes henceforth thicker and even more mysterious.

The final major player appears shortly after Mordaunt's return to Jarlshof. A dismasted ship is cast on the rocks below. Mordaunt rescues a drowning man, the ship's captain, Clement Cleveland, very likely a pirate, who is perhaps 25 years of age. Mordaunt saved Cleveland in the teeth of the ancient Jetland belief that a man drowning in the sea must under no circumstances be rescued, lest the rescuer surely suffer dreadfully at the hand of invisible powers.

Cleveland makes himself a welcome house guest of Magnus Troil. Weeks pass without the usual invitations from Magnus or his daughters to Mordaunt to visit Burgh Westra and enjoy himself. This is unprecedented coolness. Is Captain Cleveland to blame? Did Mordaunt provoke the powers by saving a drowning man? Mordaunt does not receive the expected invitation to Magnus's annual June celebrations commencing the eve of Saint John the Baptist. But he goes to Burgh Westra any way, accompanying Triptolemus and Mistress Baby.

Not wishing to spoil the story for new readers, let me skirt some of the subsequent happenings. Minna falls madly in love with Captain Cleveland. Brenda does the same with Mordaunt Mertoun. Auld Norna of Fitful Head, however, is determined that Mordaunt will be heir of her ample estates and will marry Minna. Bluff old Magnus Troil will marry his daughters only to a Norseman of island aristocracy, which prima facie neither Clement nor Mordaunt is. The two young men instinctively dislike each other. At the close of the Saint John's celebrations, the Captain stabs an unarmed Mordaunt who has annoyed him as he serenaded Minna.

Norna nurses Mordaunt back to health and commands all parties to assemble in the Orkneys capital of Kirkwall in August for the Lammas or Saint Olla's Fair. Basil Mertoun, father of Mordaunt, goes to Kirkwall to meet Norna at Saint Magnus's Cahedral to learn the whereabouts of his missing son. Captain Cleveland sails to the Orkneys to link up with mates from a second pirate vessel which survived the great storm. A British warship seeks and finds the pirate ship. And all mysteries of blood and superstition are unraveled.

Walter Scott places his novel during the heyday of British pirates at the time of the Glorious Revolution when Queen Mary Stuart and her Dutch Prince William of Orange replaced on the throne the decamped King James II.

It will not be long before rich men from the Scottish mainland take over the Orkneys and Shetlands and submerge what is left of the old Viking language and culture. We are therefore treated to a last hurrah in Scotland of the Viking spirit.

Young Minna longs for the Islands to regain independence and then rejoin Norway or Denmark. She sees Captain Cleveland not as a blood-stained pirate but as a latter-day Viking who can liberate Jetland from Scottish tyranny. Her sister Brenda is suspicious of Cleveland. But Minna tells her: "I am a daughter of the old dames of Norway, who could send their lovers to battle with a smile, and slay them with their own hands, if they returned with dishonour. ... my lover must be a Sea-king" (Ch. 20).

Feminists are fascinated by Auld Norna. When young she falls passionately in love with an Englishman and bears his child, which is taken from her. Falling in and out of madness, she achieves greatness through natural means (spreading money about, an intelligence network, knowing every secret passage in the islands and cannily reading the signs of nature) combined with credible claims to supernatural powers flowing from her claimed union with old Norse deities. What else was an embittered, ambitious girl to do in late 17th Century Jetland?

THE PIRATE is one of my two or three personal favorites among Walter Scott novels. I love it for its landscapes and seascapes and such minor characters as a Jetland poet who once dipped snuff with John Dryden and for a former actor turned buccaneer.

Thanks to the current popularity of pirates and vikings, I suspect that Sir Walter Scott's PIRATES will also bring you much reading pleasure.

-OOO-
5.0 out of 5 stars Pirate Stories are True Romance 3 Mar 2014
By Ange - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed it. Lot's of interesting things in it. Took place mainly in Shetland. When people needed to get to one part of the Island to the other, they'd catch a pony, ride it, and let it go.
3.0 out of 5 stars the pirate 2 Jan 2014
By Gwen Leavy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wasn't thrilled with the putting all books into one. The print was way to small which made it more difficult for me to read.
1.0 out of 5 stars Pirate gets tiny 17 Dec 2013
By Bill Treanor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a rip off. The font is so tiny that no normally sighted person could read it. Shame on Amazon for selling it
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