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Jackson Richardson
11-30-2013, 05:24 PM
I've just started to re-read this book, often said to be Scott's most significant novel.

The Heart of Midlothian was the town prison of Edinburgh - Midlothian being the county in which Edinburgh stands.

Any comments?

Zaza
01-11-2014, 10:34 AM
I've got 'The Heart of Midlothian', but haven't read it yet.

Related fact - Heart of Midlothian Football Club (Hearts) is the only football team named after a novel.

Jackson Richardson
01-25-2014, 10:59 AM
Don't be put off by Scott's prose style which I find difficult to take seriously. He expected to be read with lots of skipping - I don't skip, I skim. (I like C18 prose, Gibbon, Johnson, Austen, but with Scott it just becomes lumbersome.)

But do give Heart of Midlothian a go. The central characters, the Deanes sisters, are female and lower class. It is a great change to find female characters in a C19 novel who are not sentimentalised.

I don't suppose Clive Cussler or Andy McNab have ever read Scott, but the action novel or movie started with him - here with Jeanie's visit to Arthur's Crag, the account of the Porteous riots and the final scenes.

George Eliot must have known Heart when she wrote Adam Bede with the central figures of a woman condemned to death for infanticide supported by another woman.

Zaza
02-06-2014, 11:55 AM
I can't skip or skim. When I read anything, I have to read it all, including the stodgy or less interesting bits. And the notes (all of them), appendices and so on......You get the picture.

Samuel Lawson
02-07-2014, 02:50 PM
Don't be put off by Scott's prose style which I find difficult to take seriously. He expected to be read with lots of skipping - I don't skip, I skim. (I like C18 prose, Gibbon, Johnson, Austen, but with Scott it just becomes lumbersome.)

But do give Heart of Midlothian a go. The central characters, the Deanes sisters, are female and lower class. It is a great change to find female characters in a C19 novel who are not sentimentalised.

I don't suppose Clive Cussler or Andy McNab have ever read Scott, but the action novel or movie started with him - here with Jeanie's visit to Arthur's Crag, the account of the Porteous riots and the final scenes.

George Eliot must have known Heart when she wrote Adam Bede with the central figures of a woman condemned to death for infanticide supported by another woman.

I'm a cover-to-cover reader. If I may - you mean to say that Scott really meant for readers to say, 'och, this bit is going on, think ah'll skip aheid an see if it gets better'? Not that I'm doubting you, I'm actually rather interested in trying this reading style.

Jackson Richardson
02-08-2014, 03:50 AM
Here's Sir Walter explaining in Redgauntlet when the narrative switches from letters to third person narrative:

Or, to make a briefer simile, the course of story- telling which we have for the present adopted, resembles the original discipline of the dragoons, who were trained to serve either on foot or horseback, as the emergencies of the service required. With this explanation, we shall proceed to narrate some circumstances which Alan Fairford did not, and could not, write to his correspondent.

Our reader, we trust, has formed somewhat approaching to a distinct idea of the principal characters who have appeared before him during our narrative; but in case our good opinion of his sagacity has been exaggerated, and in order to satisfy such as are addicted to the laudable practice of SKIPPING (with whom we have at times a strong fellow-feeling), the following particulars may not be superfluous.

Jackson Richardson
02-08-2014, 03:53 AM
I'm a cover to cover reader too, and wouldn't knowingly skip anything in Dickens or Jane Austen, but Scott asks for it. The example of his endearing but cumbersome prose style in the above quote shows why it might be a good idea to skip. For the Scottish dialogue, I can't be bothered to be turning up the glossary all the time, so I just read on to get the idea and the flavour.

mal4mac
02-08-2014, 05:14 AM
I remember Scott showing one of his English characters not understanding a word a minor Scottish character was saying, I took that as a hint I needn't try and understand either...

Jackson Richardson
08-19-2014, 04:29 PM
iThe Heart of Midlothian was the popular name for the Old Tolbooth, the town prison of Edinburgh, just in front of the High Kirk of St Giles (aka St Giles' Cathedral). The opening chapters of the book describe the riots to break it open and capture Captain Porteous and hang him. Later, it is where Effie Deanes is imprisoned for infanticide.

It was demolished before Scott wrote the novel. There is now a heart designed in the pavement outside St Giles'. The guidebooks state that it is considered good luck to spit on it.

While I was in Edinburgh this spring I went on a walking tour of literary Edinburgh. We walked straight over the surviving Heart of Midlothian in order to get to sites associated with Arthur Conan Doyle (who as far as I'm aware never set a book in Scotland, although he was a medical student there), J K Rowling and Ian Rankin.

I was not impressed.