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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlong, ponderous, and brilliant
Tony Inglis, in his excellent introduction, notes that The Scotsman on the 1818 publication of The Heart of Midlithian stated that it contained "the best and the worst" of Scott; nail hit firmly on head here. The opening scenes of the Potreous riots and their fallout in early 18th century Edinburgh are vivid and breathtaking. The depiction of family life and the strict...
Published on 15 Jan. 2010 by Ross

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It took a lot of getting into, but it's worth it!
Published 1 month ago by Hazel


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlong, ponderous, and brilliant, 15 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Tony Inglis, in his excellent introduction, notes that The Scotsman on the 1818 publication of The Heart of Midlithian stated that it contained "the best and the worst" of Scott; nail hit firmly on head here. The opening scenes of the Potreous riots and their fallout in early 18th century Edinburgh are vivid and breathtaking. The depiction of family life and the strict Presbyterianism of simple folk are by turns enlightening, funny, and full of pathos. The characters are wonderful. Jeanie Deans' love for her sister is, like the courtroom scenes when Effie relieves the loss of her child, heart-breaking. The ripping yarn cmponents of Scott's works are all there with the riots, the outlaw on Arthir's Seat, and Jeanie's perilous trip to London. But he is often long-winded, adds in completely unnecessary and pointless scenes, relies too much on coincidence, and goes on for a good 100 pages after the glaringly obvious point for the denoumont (Inglis points out the theory as to why this is so.)All in all this book is thouroghly deserving of both its praise and its criticism but I can't help but give it five stars because, at his best, Scott is among the best storytellers I have ever read.

A quick view of the reviews here of Scott's other works confirm that he is indeed the Marmite of classic literature (here I will note in a petty manner than I don't understand why Jane Austen being good necessarily means that Scott is bad). The disagreement is nothing new. While Mark Twain accused Scott of the most awful prose and went on to blame him for the American Civil War Scott was praised to the high heavens in his own lifetime by the likes of Goethe, Lermontov, and Pushkin (the latter more or less blatantly rips off The Heart of Midlothian in his masturful 'The Captain's Daughter). What I'm trying to say is try it, see which side of the fence you're on!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 13 Mar. 2010
By 
E. Clarke "Cambusken" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The only way you could fault this brilliant book is to home in on some (trivial) inconsistency in the narrative, or complain that the full fate of one of the characters is not fully worked out, or, if all that is too trivial indeed, concentrate on a supposed anti-democratic bias in the writing (which is complete rubbish, Scott couldn't help sympathising with every one of his characters). The fact is, this teems with character and incident and flashes with historical detail. Can you put it down? I doubt it - even if you feel obliged subsequently to support the above complaints.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An undeservedly forgotten masterpiece, Scott's finest work., 28 Mar. 2001
This review is from: The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Inspired by a true story.
When her younger sister is accused of murdering her new born child only Jeanie Deans can save her life, but to do so she must perjure herself before man and God. This is impossible for a woman of such deep and simple faith. As a result her sister is condemned to die. With in hours of the sentenceing Jeanie leaves on the long, and dangerous journey to London, in the slight hope of obtaining a royal pardon.
A simple story of deep faith, tremendous courage, and family loyalty. Containing some of Scott's most memorable charactors, including a strong female protagonist, years ahead of her time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful edition of an essential novel, 1 Jan. 2011
By 
Steven J. Pachuta (Mpls-St. Paul, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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Aside from Ivanhoe (and I have my doubts about even that), Scott is woefully under-read today, probably because reading him is a challenge just as reading Shakespeare is a challenge. As with Shakespeare, the Waverley novels are filled with riches, and I have found that the effort of reading them is repaid many times over.

The Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels seems to have received little publicity, but I cannot praise too highly the herculean efforts of the editors. With the historical background, extensive notes, and glossary provided in each volume, Scott comes alive. The editors have outdone themselves with The Heart of Mid-Lothian, in particular. The sheer quantity of historical references, and the extensive use of Scots dialect, are enough to intimidate the bravest readers. I can imagine reading and enjoying this novel without notes and without a glossary, but the supplementary material enables the novel to be truly appreciated as one of the great works in literature. At its core it is a simple story of love and humanity. It moved me to tears, and really that is about the highest praise I can give.

A note on the use of Scots dialect: In the early stages of reading this novel I wasn't entirely sure I would get through it, even with the glossary. I had previously read The Pirate and survived the Scots in that, so I doggedly persevered and soon found my comprehension growing and my reading becoming much faster. Scott could have written this entirely in standard English, but the use of Scots adds a realistic dimension that elevates it and--to use a visual analogy--turns it from 2D into 3D. I would suggest making a short definition list of the most commonly encountered Scots words (e.g, "muckle," "ain," "gar") and using it as a bookmark. Soon you will be speaking (or at least reading) Scots like a native!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem, 5 Aug. 2008
By 
I. Broome (Newcastle, Tyne&wear United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Perhaps Scott`s work is overlooked with Rob Roy and Ivanhoe falling into the remit of children`s classics.This is certainly not the case with `the heart of mid lothian`.This is the tale of Jeanie Deans and how she set out to save her sister`s life after she is accused of killing her new born child;and her journey to London to appeal for mercy.
Aside from this this book gives an insight what life was like in Scotland in the 1700.As well as the in depth supporting text form the editor;it gives an indepth insight to the tale.With its reference to the Scottish Union with England,The bible,and events in history.
This is a wonderfully written book that is richly rewarding experiece for the reader and is one book that should not be forgotten and deserves like all of Scoot`s work a much wider audience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Sept. 2014
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Books fine, rather poor on the delivery time scale.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 11 Mar. 2015
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It took a lot of getting into, but it's worth it!
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The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics)
The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Penguin Classics) by Walter Scott (Paperback - 25 Aug. 1994)
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