Monday, October 13, 2008

(Sir) Walter Scott

Deep in the heart of Edinburgh is the Walter Scott memorial. This portrayal does not do it justice since at its base, looking up, it is quite tall and intricate.

Scott, known for "Ivanhoe" and other novels and poetry was born and educated in Edinburgh. He was famously popular in both Europe and North America in the 1820s and 30s. Mark Twain was not a supporter, however, accusing him of romanticizing battle which led the American South into thinking they could solve their grievances with the North through war.

Scott suffered from polio and took treatment at a spa in the Border Country of Scotland which we visited. He also stayed a short while in Kelso (related to Kelso, Washington just up I-5 from Portland.)

Scott's instrumental hand in King George IV visit to Scotland in 1822 was his signature event. The Scots broke out their tartan (plaid) attire which was outlawed between 1746 and 1780 and surpressed until the king's visit. George IV dressed in a tartan kilt, but allegedly wore pink tights under it. Pictures, however, depict him with bare knees.

Scott was a prolific writer and commercial success which yielded the monument pictured above. It is blackened due to the stains of burning coal in Edinburgh. Unless the buildings were cleaned, they remained blackened. This is significant to me because my hometown of New Castle, Pa...mostly blackened by coal has a few structures (notably churches) today that have been cleaned in the past 50 years and do not look as they did when I was growing up.

So, here is to Mrs. Schmid (a.k.a. Elizabeth Parker) sophomore English teacher that introduced me to Sir Walter Scott.

No comments: