This introductory chapter sets out the focus of the book, namely the relationship between Walter Scott's texts and the narrative strategies and conventions of late 18th- and early 19th-century Gothic, in order to elucidate the narrative complexities of the Waverley Novels, their interplays of different forms of narratorial and historical authority, and the special narratorial status of the ‘Author of Waverley’. It addresses, therefore, three issues: the construction and reception of a ‘Walter Scott’ who can stand detachedly on the margins of Romantic studies, to be included or not as the critical agenda dictates; the problematic status of the historical and the means of historical enquiry and authentication; and the literary transgressiveness of the Waverley Novels, defined as the narratorial and descriptive processes by which they both suggest and continually redefine generic vocabularies. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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