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The Black Dwarf

Sir Walter Scott

Book Overview: 

The Black Dwarf is the first of the “Tales of My Landlord” series, which also includes The Bride of Lammermoor and The Heart of Midlothian. The third preliminary chapter depicts two horsemen arriving at the Wallace Inn in Gandercleugh, where one of the horsemen relates the tale. The story proper is set on the Scottish borders during the reign of Queen Anne. The Jacobite movement is in its infancy, but the inhabitants of this part of the country have enough to quarrel about without politics inciting them to it. Several families of high and low birth bear no good intentions to each other, and a weird, brooding dwarf, who wishes ill on all of humanity, seems to direct and perpetuate the mayhem from his lonely cottage on Mucklestane Moor.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .mdash;and ye see yon other light that's gaun whiddin' back and forrit through amang the windows? that's my cousin, Grace Armstrong,—she's twice as clever about the house as my sisters, and sae they say themsells, for they're good-natured lasses as ever trode on heather; but they confess themsells, and sae does grannie, that she has far maist action, and is the best goer about the toun, now that grannie is off the foot hersell.—My brothers, ane o' them's away to wait upon the chamberlain, and ane's at Moss-phadraig, that's our led farm—he can see after the stock just as weel as I can do."

"You are lucky, my good friend, in having so many valuable relations."

"Troth am I—Grace make me thankful, I'se never deny it.—But will ye tell me now, Earnscliff, you that have been at college, and the high-school of Edinburgh, and got a' sort o' lair where it was to be best gotten—will ye tell me—no that it's ony concern of . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Scott's The Black Dwarf (first published, 1816), as is usual with Scott, brings together a cast of interesting and contrasted characters. While I expect this is not remembered as one of Scott's best novels, it is worth reading. I was a bit startled as I realized that the plot was winding down about

A good story with elements of the supernatural. I had to look up quite a few Scottish words but an entertaining yarn. This was Scott’s shortest novel with my copy 165 pages long. The author also based it on a dwarf he met called David Ritchie.

The story is centers around a dwarf living amongst some

In his other large book series, Tales of My Landlord, the author attempts a different approach by writing a series of stories. This is the first book of this series and is the smallest for a number of reasons not directly related to its writing. This small size means that unlike the other books of t

Its ending was seriously wanting, and the author's attempt to imitate a Scottish brogue made it almost impossible to read.

Sir Walter Scott released an anonymous review of his novel, The Black Dwarf, in which he was very critical, especially with the ending. (I wasn't able to find a copy of the review, so I haven't read it, but it is described in the Wikipedia entry for the novel.) I had some problems with the way the s

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