Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waverly by Sir Walter Scott


My friends, a piece of advice from the reader of Waverly. Leaving aside any personal feelings on subjects that produce some degree of discomfort in circles of mixed opinion, let me say, it is unwise under any circumstance to mock a man in tartan kilt. Bad plan, all around. Just don't do it. Please, I beg of you. I know, he carries a purse (dinnae, my friends, CALL it a purse, though). I know his hat is called a bonnet. I know these things, believe me, I do. But, temper your tongue. As an added bit of advice, NEVER do a google search for the word 'kilt' unless you wish to be visually educated on the proper manner of dressing beneath one's kilt. Which... hrm... if one asks, let us just say, the answer to waht one is wearing beneath ones kilt is apparently most properly and soberly responded to by 'Me shoes and socks, missus' (although, notably, this would not have been an appropriate response in the time of good captain Waverley. Seriously, there's an entire section in which his friend the Baron of Bradwardine discourses on the difficulties attendant to ceremonially removing the boots of a prince who dresses in highland fashion, where boots are not worn.)

Sir Walter Scott, my friends, would NEVER laugh at a man in a kilt. He in fact, when the English Captain who is hero of our novel first dons the tartan and plaid, proclaims that the Highlander's traditional garb serves to stengthen the slight effeminacy of his figure.

Alright, I promise no more kilt comments.

Honestly, this was an excellent book, and I really don't understand why noone ever thinks of Sir Walter Scott anymore. He sounds like Jane Austen, only a traditional Regency male. And Scottish. And able with impunity to make the occaisional wry comment about the voluminous amount of liquor one is required to imbibe in a scotch household (beware the Cunning Bear of Bradwardine, my friends, for it is followed by a stirrup cup!). Much like an Austen masterpiece, it swings wildly from serene to wild, from hilarious to solemn, with a natural grace that belies his vintage as a poet. The good Baron aforementioned is perfect example: hillariously pedantic, but stoically loyal, you laugh at him the entire book, but feel awed by his courage in so simple a scene as him crawling into a hole in the rock to hide from the British advancers.

An thrilling revelation of Scotch/English history, a wonderful character sketch, and a crash course in reading Highland Brogue dialect in print, I highly recommend Waverly to anyone who likes Jane Austen, wonderful characters, or bagpipes. I can best close with the words of Ms Austen herself:

"Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones - It is not fair. He has fame and profit enough as a poet, and should not be taking bread out of other people's mouths. - I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it - but fear I must."

42 comments:

Amanda said...

I'm sorry, I can't help it, but from your combined comments, I see that Baron crawling into a hole while also wearing a kilt, and the image ("me shoes and socks, missus") is not pretty.

I think before I could attempt to read this book, I'd need a version that provided translation for all the dialect, but then again, I'm not sure this is the sort of book I would be able to handle. Doesn't seem my type of classic lit, does it Jase?

And Jen, I want you to know that the O Gentle Reader makes an appearance in this book, Jason showed me, so reference back to this picture from Jason's North and South review. :)

Jason Gignac said...

Actually, the good Baron is a Scottish Lowlander gentry, and does not wear kilts. Only the highlanders did. So, that would be Fergus MacIvor who ******SPOILER!**********





gets executed by the British. Poor sap.






******** SPOILER DONE!*************
How could I forget to mention Oh Gentle Reader? Bad Jason! Bad!

Amanda said...

What the heck are you talking about? I think Waverly must have spoiled your brain with too much highlander talk tonight (you read, what, 75 pages?), or else Mrs. Helen Huntingdon's journal in my current book has spoiled mine, because your comment makes no sense with mine. YOu said, quote: "the Baron of Bradwardine discourses on the difficulties attendant to ceremonially removing the boots of a prince who dresses in highland fashion" and later say: "The good Baron aforementioned is perfect example: ... his courage in so simple a scene as him crawling into a hole in the rock to hide..." So, I guess I concluded that a Baron who was talking about how difficult it is to remove boots when in a kilt is later crawling in that hole, and whether or not he was wearing a kilt at that time, I imagined it such.

Who the heck is Fergus MacIvor?

I think I need to go to sleep...Byron, my faculties of reasoning are apparently a lot deader at night than in the morning.

Byron said...

Haha.

Well, you early morning types win at life, though. "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Does it work on women? Hey, don't get mad at me, I didn't come up with it.

Amanda said...

Probably would work on a woman, too, if she bothered to go to bed early...

haha! I'm having waaaaaay too much fun tonight.

Jason Gignac said...

Och, me bonny lass, yer nae kennin me, nae yet. Is nae sae mickle a tome as were ta be prassed into a maere one page. Wow, I hope noone actually Scottish ever reads that...

Ok, lets clear this up a bit. The Baron of Bradwardine is worrying about "discourses on the difficulties attendant to ceremonially removing the boots of a ****prince**** who dresses in highland fashion". That's a prince, not a baron, The right honorouable chilvalric duty of his particular house being the taking off of the king's boots, a right he is unwilling to surrender, despite the lack of boots in Bonny Prince Charlie's Highland dress. After all, though, as he points out the Caligae of Caligula in ancient roman times is commonly translated as boot, when it is in fact sandals, since one sees him unlatcheting them, something one would not do with a boot. So, it's not so bad. Teh same baron, later aan outlaw because of his treasonous service to the House of Stuart is made an outlaw, and hides himself in the rock. He is NOT WEARING A KILT. HE is 'nae one of the grait petticoated Northers.'

Fergus MacIvor, also known as the Vich Ian Vohr, or Colonel MacIvor, is the head of the MacIvor clan of highlanders, and a true specimen of the Highland way in every fashion. Only, he was brought up in the exiled court in France, so he has a bit of the French politician to him, as well.

Go to sleep.

Amanda said...

Bit of a french politician, hrmm...

Yeah, this definitely sounds like your kind of book, not mine.

Jason Gignac said...

And the best part is, he marries Rose! I love Rose! She's such a nice girl! Flora, sadly, just becomes a nun. I think she was in love with her brother. But without the whole... gross part of that...

Amanda said...

What? What does that have to do with anything?

Jason Gignac said...

*sigh* Amanda...

Rose is the good Baron's daughter, and Flora is the dead Highlander Chieftan's sister. Come one, could you keep up a LITTLE bit here?

Jen said...

Ah, Fergus, now that's a name that doesn't get enough play anymore.

BTW, Don has a kilt or two and yes, the proper way to wear them is regimental. Commence with the gouging out of your eyes-or your mind's eye, whichever is affected.

Oh, and I've noticed Miss Manners has also begun a revival of the oft overlooked "O Gentle Reader".

Jason Gignac said...

Don in a Kilt. Heh, heh, heh... That's going right up there in my repertoire with 'Rub a dub dub'.

By the way, that was not a mocking heh, that was a Barry White heh.

Amanda said...

Ah yes, Fergus, along with Willoughby and Cuthbert (remember those guys, Jase?).

Becky had a crush on a guy named Fergie when she was in 6th grade. I took a picture of him for her, to tease her, and still have it in my photo album. I don't know if his name was short for Fergus, though.

Byron said...

Uhoh. Jen's here now, too.

About Scottish books, Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, has a bunch of Scottish text, and is quite entertaining. And quite the quick read, if you're needing to add to the book tally.

Jason Gignac said...

By the way, Right through world war II, part of the inspection of the Highland Guard involved a mirror on the ground. You know. Yeah.

Jason Gignac said...

Fergus doesn't get enough play? What about Duncan MacWheeble? What girl wouldn't go weak-kneed over that?

Amanda said...

Regarding the mirrors, that's the creepiest thing I've heard all day, and brings back memories of live theatre pee-wee herman sketches, though thankfully without kilts. And no, I wasn't involved, they were on tv.

Jason Gignac said...

Yay! Therapy time for Manda!

Jen said...

Gotta love the Barry White 'heh'.

And yes, Byron, don't even try to exclude me.

Amanda said...

Hey, the more the merrier Jen! it's like a virtual cousin's club sleepover in three different parts of the world, minus half the cousins, plus one husband! The only thing missing is sleep...oh, wait, we never slept, did we?

Jason Gignac said...

Yes, that's true, you quite literally HAVE to love the Barry White Heh

Byron said...

Jen, I'm thinking of all the messages going into your e-mail inbox being a lot like thrashing around in the water attracting a shark.

There was live bait here, and then you appeared. What am I supposed to think, outsider?

Byron said...

I wish you guys would give me a chance to clear out my inbox, too.

But I've been cracking up. Gotta give credit for that!

Jason Gignac said...

So, Amanda and I circling around, we're what, scavenger fish?

Amanda said...

These comment sections on these two posts are now officially the longest we've had so far! Of course, they aren't mostly talking about the book, but they're making me laugh anyway.

Jen said...

Yes, I admit I was hopeful when I saw I had like 15 new messages, but then I saw it was all you guys.

Amanda said...

Well, I guess if we aren't good enough for you, Jen...

;)

Byron said...

I finally gave up switching back and forth and finally opened up each page in a different tab, and just click on refresh.

Then, of course, there are nonsecure items on the page and I have to click yes or no EVERY TIME to reload the page.

My inbox is now at 32 messages, probably all within the last hour.

Jason Gignac said...

Right, ye mickle thin-blouded wench! Ye dinnae hof sich pour te take on the Scotch classics! Lairn yer place, foul divel!

Amanda said...

Yeah, and our statcounter is saying we've hit almost 150 hits today, all but about 15 of them since you two simultaneously published these two blogs...

Jen said...

Anyone visiting would think that Waverly had stirred up a vigorous debate of it's literary worthiness. Little do they know.

Amanda said...

Alright, y'all, I'm off to bed. I've got three young'ns who'll wake me up by 7 in the morning, and I'm off my meds so it's already going to be a difficult week. Might as well be a little sensible and let all this humorous prattle comfort me smiling into the clouds.

Jason Gignac said...

Amanda's goign to bed... now we can REALLY talk... heh heh heh....

Amanda said...

you keep using that barry white voice, Jase - remember that I'll be able to see everything you say tomorrow...heh heh heh.

Jason Gignac said...

You forget, my bonny lass - ye made me an admin . . .

Heh, heh, heh...

Amanda said...

scoundral! Or, how should I say it in highlander?

Jen said...

Goodnight, John Boy.

Amanda said...

Goodnight Chief!

Jason Gignac said...

I feel a game of Truth-ya coming on!

Jason Gignac said...

Goodnight McCloud!

Jason Gignac said...

Go to bed old man!

Byron said...

It's dark in here...So cold...

I'm all alone, and the wolves, they howl so...

Where did they go, all the voices?

I tread upon the desolate wastes, a spectre, adrift among the comments.

A ghost in the machine, haunting, and haunted by, noone.