Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, 1771 - 1832

portrait of Walter Scott
Oil on canvas by Sir Henry Raeburn (1822)

Born: 15 August 1771, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Died: 21 September 1832, Melrose, Scotland, UK

Scott contracted polio in his second year and spent significant time in various places healing from it, during which time his grandmother regaled him with old tales of the Scottish Borders country and his aunt taught him to read. Although he was a vigorous six-footer, he always limped. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1783, in 1786 he began a legal apprenticeship in his father's office. After a year he returned to the university for formal law training and practiced at Edinburgh. He started writing poetry at 25, his work sold well and within a decade he had founded his first printing firm and took on a partner in 1809. The economy turned down and in 1814 he wrote the very successful Waverley to keep the business going. To avoid damaging his reputation as a poet, he published all of his novels anonymously, includingRob Roy and Ivanhoe in 1819. He is generally credited with inventing the historical novel, he wrote at least fifteen. In 1820 he was made a baronet. The economy soured again in 1826, his wife died the following year, and he was again deeply in debt. Rather than take bankruptcy, he placed his estate, a home he called Abbotsford on nearly a thousand acres, and his writing income into a trust for his creditors and turned himself into "a sort of writing automaton". He suffered four strokes before dying, still in debt, but his work was selling briskly and all bills were soon paid.

Biography from Wikipedia and Scot Clans

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