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The Antiquary

Sir Walter Scott

Book Overview: 

Illegitimacy, false identity, and bankruptcy are the major elements of Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Antiquary. Set in the period of the French Revolution, the novel's hero, Lovel, struggles to gain repute and the hand of his beloved despite his uncertain parentage. During these pursuits, he befriends the title's antiquary, Johnathan Oldbuck, who finds Lovel a captive audience to his scholarly studies and a tragic likeness to his own disappointments in love. Readers will discover whether Lovel's acts of bravery and courage ultimately earn him the birth and fortunes of a nobleman.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I'll climb up the cliff again," said Lovel—"there's daylight enough left to see my footing; I'll climb up, and call for more assistance."

"Do so, do so, for Heaven's sake!" said Sir Arthur eagerly.

"Are ye mad?" said the mendicant: "Francie o' Fowlsheugh, and he was the best craigsman that ever speel'd heugh (mair by token, he brake his neck upon the Dunbuy of Slaines), wodna hae ventured upon the Halket-head craigs after sun-down—It's God's grace, and a great wonder besides, that ye are not in the middle o' that roaring sea wi' what ye hae done already—I didna think there was the man left alive would hae come down the craigs as ye did. I question an I could hae done it mysell, at this hoar and in this weather, in the youngest and yaldest of my strength—But to venture up again—it's a mere and a clear tempting o' Providence."

"I have no fear," answered Lovel; ". . . Read More

Community Reviews

My fifth Scott, and the best by far. It's the first I've read where the characters actually seemed like real people - Edie Ochiltree is so much more credible than Meg Merrilies, for example. And while The Antiquary himself infuriated me, he was all of a piece and really held the story together. I...more

Prolix and meandering like the titular character, The Antiquary seemed often in its earliest pages to lose its way. For quite a while, I was uncertain whether this is a gothic horror tale, comedy, romance, an action-and-adventure tale or a political tract. There’s even a folktale thrown in about...more

I adore Sir Walter Scott's writing! He can be a little long-winded at times, but it is absolutely worth it.

I wish that this story had focused more on Mr. Lovel as the hero, instead of telling nearly everything from the Antiquary's point of view. It is funny and touching though, seeing everything...more

The great Scottish writer said he wrote his historical novels to make his compatriots come in contact with history and the way of life of other times. A big and serious purpose, to which he was committed, but that did not mean that he could not humour with it. The protagonist of this book is esse...more

Let me begin by saying I respect Sir Walter Scott as an author. There are no “but’s” that follow.
Antiquary was a good book and a good story.
Why 2 Stars then?

Characters: 2
I enjoyed the characters, Scott created. There were interesting and very different from anyone you would encounter these days...more

Never read anything by Wally Scott before and it was a very mixed experience. A tiresome first third, during which I almost abandoned the book, settled into a very satisfying middle third before the great rush of resolution in the last part. Reading in part like an expanded stage play with charac...more

Wat een wonderbaarlijk boek! Het verhaal krijgt maar erg traag vorm, maar wat voor een personages spelen een rol: een pruikenmaker met nog slechts drie klanten, een Duitse zwendelaar en - natuurlijk - de oudheidkundige uit de titel.

De ontknopping van de al bij al flauwe plot - maar Scott kan bezw...more

Why hadn't I heard of this great book before? It has all the usual Scott hallmarks - brilliant story line, sly humorous observation, terrific set pieces, marvelous writing. Yet it was based in his own lifetime - is this the only one? So there is no long introduction, based on fake documents myste...more

From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
Richard Wilson stars as The Antiquary, a man who hordes secrets as well as treasures. Will his knowledge allow Lovel to marry his secret love? With David Tennant as Walter Scott.

The Antiquary (1816) is a novel by Sir Walter Scott about an amateur historian, archaeologist...more

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