Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Paula Feldman

Abstract

While Sir Walter Scott is best known for his Waverly novels and Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, he also played an important role in helping lesser known writers publish their work. In particular, he was known for helping women writers. Scott’s relationship with Lady Anne Lindsay (later Barnard), however, is especially interesting. Lindsay is best known for her poem, “Auld Robin Gray.” There is far more to Sir Walter Scott’s relationship with Lady Anne Lindsay than first meets the eye. The two knew of each other through family and social connections, but they never met in person. They did, however, have a correspondence from July 8, 1823, to November 11, 1824, in which they wrote to each other about publishing Lady Anne’s work for the Bannatyne Club. Scott’s reputation as a collector and publisher of historical material stood to gain from exploiting his association with the author of “Auld Robin Gray’ and publishing her poetry. But Lady Anne also benefited from their family connections and correspondence. Scott’s success as an author and his social connections to Lindsay made him an appropriate literary patron, and his qualifications gave him the authority to name her as the author of “Auld Robin Gray” fifty years after it was written. Their relationship was complicated, however, by the fact that Lady Anne later rescinded her desire to publish Lays of the Lindsays due to family pressures. Lady Anne had always expressed reservations about putting her name to her work, but publishing Lays of the Lindsays because of concern about embarrassing her sister, Lady Elizabeth, as well as others in her family. Although Scott’s role as editor of “Auld Robin Gray” is well known, besides casual mention in several biographies, the extent of their relationship remains largely unexplored by scholars. Because their interactions all occurred through correspondence, the letters offer scholars a unique opportunity to explore how family pressures and social connections could affect publication, as well as how these pressures could necessitate the mutually beneficial mentorship of an established author.

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