The Heart Of Midlothian
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The Heart Of Midlothian

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  519 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The Heart of Mid-Lothian, set between the two Jacobite insurrections in 1736 and during the Porteous Riots, marks the peak of its author's achievement; many consider it to be Scott's national epic.
Paperback, 583 pages
Published February 10th 1983 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1818)
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Feb 28, 2013 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century literature
Note, Feb. 28, 2013: On reflection, I decided that this book deserved the fifth star! I try not to be too prodigal with five star ratings; but here, I believe it's earned.

This book was on the reading list for a Univ. of Iowa correspondence course on the 19th-century British novel which I considered taking back in 1999; I never did, but by then I'd read the book and a couple of others for background reading. (I don't regret the read one bit!) For the last several months, I've tried to focus my us...more
Henry Avila
The title of this book comes from the nickname of the prison in Edinburgh,Scotland(real name Toolbooth).Midlothian is the county surrounding that capital city.In 1736 there occurred a riot, in which Captain John Porteous of the police force,an arrogant man, was lynched by an angry mob( a real event).The captain had killed some townspeople, during a disturbance earlier.A smuggler Andrew Wilson was executed under his watch.His friends tried to rescue the criminal.The late Mr.Wilson became a hero w...more
I wonder why this book hasn't been made into a movie or TV series. It has everything a modern audience could ask for: premarital sex, birth drama, missing baby, legal proceedings (which would stir up a lot of pro-life/pro-choice debates today), there is highway robbery, religious bigotry, organized crime, an insane woman to offer comedic relief and some pity), false identities, suspected witch-craft, travel and adventure over the scenery of Scotland and England, a clash of cultures and classes.....more
Mar 06, 2013 Ron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Werner Lind
Sense and Sensibility meets Perry Mason, "based on a true story."

Once the reader gathers enough skill to decipher the vernacular and stilted narratives and dialogue of that day, an enjoyable tale written early enough in the 19th century as to avoid the silliness of late-19th century Romanticism. The parallels to Jane Auten's work are many, especially the relationship of the wise and foolish sisters. Interestingly, Austen and Scott wrote almost simultaneously, yet his work seems more dated than h...more
I thought I would read this famous book as a sort of duty - like I shall one day read Ulysses. Other reviewers will be able to explain why, but I just found it an utter delight. Basically a road movie? but with tremendously vivid portrayals of the whole of Britain in the 18th Century, locks of macabre detail, great Gothic set pieces and an immensely sympathetic central figure. I think I learned that Scott is nothing like I thought he would be like. I dreaded the proclaimed "long introduction" bu...more
Greg Deane
Sir Walter Scott’s “The Heart of Midlothian” was in July 1818, as one of the Waverley novels. The novel's heroine is Jeanie Deans, sister of a filicide, Effie Deans. The plot was based on the story of another maternal filicide, whose sister, Helen Walker, had walked from Edinburgh to London to plead for a royal pardon. It is set in 1736, during the reign of George II. The matter was of wide interest at a time when many young woman would suffer ostracism for bearing children out of marriage, and...more
Jul 01, 2010 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
As Effie faces execution in prison, Jeanie decides to walk to London to plead for her sister's life. Available at BBC Radio 7.
bartoline saddletree is a silly name
Most likely Scott's best work.
Another of the Tales of My Landlord, Second Series, The Heart of Mid-Lothian is based on two historical incidents. The Porteous Riots in Edinburgh (1736) and a letter to Scott describing the case of a young woman who walked to London to obtain a kingly pardon for her sister who was unjustly accused of infanticide. Scott's tale is intricately woven; all of the characters are in some way connected with the riots. Effie Deans whose paramour is based on the rogue Gilbert Robertson who escapes during...more
Milena March
How far would you go to save a sister's life? Would you tell a lie? How much would you sacrifice?

The Heart of Midlothian is a simple story which probably could have been several times shorter than it actually was; it essentially centres around a young woman called Jeanie Deans, whose half-sister is accused of child-murder and sentenced to death. Jeanie, unable to lie in a court of law to save her sister's life (a point which didn't quite sit with me, but more on that later), heads down the long...more
This is the Everyman edition, and does contain the Everyman motto: "Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide, In thy most need be by thy side."

As always with classic works, edition matters. The copy I have is marked up by somebody apparently studying the book for a class. The usual warning not to read the prefatory material before reading the book applies. (Wish I'd followed it. This is the first Scott book I've read, and I really didn't need all the comparative stuff.)

There is a glossary...more
Dara Salley
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like about this story. The characters were sympathetic and well drawn. The premise, centering around the stories told about a Scottish prison, was interesting enough. Yet I found most of this book to be terribly boring. The long passages debating some past religious conflict in Scotland that I’ve never heard about didn’t help. It was pointed out in the introduction that the story is very similar to George Eliot’s book “Adam Bede”, which I read a f...more
je suis encore tombée sous le charme de Walter Scott avec ce Cœur du Mid-Lothian qui évoque la prison d’Edimbourg à partir de l’histoire d’Effie et Jeanie Deans. Scott est un formidable conteur avec un style vigoureux qui sait vous tenir en haleine. C’est d’autant plus méritoire que l’héroïne de ce roman, Jeanie, n’est pas particulièrement «glamour», assez quelconque, austère, puritaine. Et pourtant, Scott parvient à la rendre attachante par une sorte de second degré permanent qui le pousse à se...more
My Inner Shelf
Je ne regrette pas d’avoir persévéré dans ma découverte des œuvres de Walter Scott. Si les deux premiers romans m’ont plu (La fiancée de Lammermoor et Le nain noir), ils ne m’ont pas absolument captivée. Avec Le cœur du Mid-LOthian, on a le temps de plonger dans une époque, un pays, une histoire.

Scott s’est inspiré d’un fait réel pour bâtir son histoire. Le Capitaine John Porteous, capitaine des gardes de la cité d’Édimbourg ordonne à ses hommes de tirer sur la foule lors de l’exécution de contr...more
Sir Walter Scott's fictionalized tale of a true story, in which Jeanie Deans, a Scottish maid of modest birth and pure heart, undertakes a journey to London to plead with the King for the life of her condemned sister, Effie. The story is a romantic and sometimes thrilling one, and along the way the reader becomes acquainted with Jeanie's family and others around her, some of whom are good and some not. Jeanie's common sense, determination, and true moral compass are the constants. In the end, i...more
Feb 06, 2008 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Scottish historians, obsessive Walter Scott fans
Even for a Walter Scott novel, this takes a relatively high level of investment to get into. You'll plow through 2 chapters of preamble and 70 more pages of history before you finally get to meet one of Walter Scott's best characters ever, Jeanie Deans, the flawlessly honest,clear-sighted t and purpose-driven heroine who leaves her father's Scottish dairy farm to walk all the way to London in the hopes of petitioning the Queen to have her sister pardoned from a false conviction on child murder....more
Jean Blackwood
I think it's time more modern readers discover Sir Walter Scott's great works. He has all the best attributes you find in Dickens and Hardy without being as maudlin as the former or as straining for credibility as the latter in his plotting. The Heart of Midlothian presents as strong and vital a female heroine in Jeanie Deans as any Austen novel ever offered. For those who are enamoured of all things Scot, as I am, Scott's portrayal of 18th century life there will provide a wonderful real-life p...more
As all of Scott's works, The Heart of Midlothian was worth a read. :) I don't think it will rank as a favorite, but still, it was enjoyable, filled with interesting dialects, tidbits of history, vivid word pictures of Scotland's beauties, and, of course, a wonderful tale.

If you do not appreciate Scott's slow and descriptive style of telling his story, or if you have no wish to hear passages on the history of the Scottish church and religious/civil disturbances, this book may not be for you. But...more
I distrusted this book from the beginning for purely superficial reasons: I hadn’t heard of it before, the name sounded weird, and it had lots of strange dialects upon a quick perusal of the pages. I can’t think of a time, however, when I did not thoroughly enjoy my reading session and look forward to reading more of Sir Walter Scott’s writings.

I also was surprised to find myself laughing throughout the first section of the book and beyond. I can’t remember when I laughed so much while reading....more
Dear Famous Author,
When someone writes you a letter that describes a moderately interesting event and suggests that you write a novel about it, and then you do write a novel about it, don't make the novel eternally long even though it covers the same ground as the letter's brief description of the event. And if you do do that, then don't publish the letter as a preface to the unnecessarily long novel, because then your readers will know for a fact (instead of just miserably suspecting) that a su...more
Jun 07, 2007 Ancient rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who like crappy writing
Shelves: classics
I had to read this for a Continential Romanticism course I took my Senior year of college. All I can say is that I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this stupid book.

I have never read anything else by Sir Walter Scott, and after reading the Heart of Midlothian, I never want to. If I remember right, people were paid by the word at the time. And it shows. If you like circuitous descriptions and sentences that go on forever, you'll love this book.

Oh, and it's boring, too.

Sorry S...more
Need to get your scots dictionary ready as there are muckle words you might need to look up, and most of the latin quotes were lost on me - but an enjoyable and reasonably gripping story of 18th century Scotland - and a useful history lesson. Interesting reading about peoples feelings about union with England which had only recently enacted - and which is now in question again. Some incidents quite staggering - like the request from Dukes Captain to Kirk minister to borrow the church bell ropes...more
I read this on a whim, because the title was so dull, the book so thick, and I recalled dismal sundays at my uncle's house as a child having to watch stupefied with boredom as football results came up on TV, always with Heart of Midlothian in there somewhere, so it was my imp of the perverse which made me give it a go. This cover is dull as well. But the book itself is a great read, and as the blurb says it's Scott's crowning achievement. Even the historical sections are riveting.
Josie Crimp
I'm glad I (finally!) finished this, and I enjoyed many parts of it, but I wouldn't say I'm overwhelmed by Scott's writing talent. I found the characters simplistic and the plot reaaally slow (which is fine if you're spending the time getting to know complex characters, but that wasn't the case here). That said, it did give me a great flavour of Scotland 200 years ago, and I might well try another one of his books later this year.
Yeah, well. Not as much finished as not even started. But I do know all the plotlines and stuff.
Let me start by confessing I never actually finished this book. It was required reading in a semester in college where I had several literary texts that I had to read. I did manage to get enough detail to think that the novel is probably at least relatively good overall. Perhaps I will read the entire novel someday.
Dec 29, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Valerie by: Marillion
This is my favorite Sir Walter Scott book, (doesn't everyone have a favorite?) As to why I read it, that would be my obsession with the obscure Scottish prog rock band Marillion when I was in college. It was wonderful to see the look on my prof's face when I explained why I had chosen this book for my orals list.
My husband has been after me for years to read this but I always refused. I like to be ornery. Anyway, surprise I did enjoy it. Scott is anti Calvinist in his views. But then if I thought all Calvinists were so morose and depressed I wouldn't like them either.
My favorite Scott. There's a very powerful scene where the girl drags herself across an outer landscape that is a complete mirror of her inner state: the entire book is more than worth it for that one scene.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott created and popularized historical novels in a series called the Waverley Novels. In his novels Scott arranged the plots and characters so the reader enters into the lives of both great and ordinary people caught up in violent, dramatic...more
More about Walter Scott...
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