When asked whether "Waverley" is an anti-Romantic novel, one must first fully understand the term "Romantic" and then discuss whether the characteristics of this expression are at all reflected within "Waverley."
One must take into consideration the historical and political conditions within society at the time and their influence on this great writer and his works.
The Romantic period occurred some time from 1789 to 1832. It was a dramatic turning point in literary history as it was considered a movement away from classical traditions and provincial languages within the field of literature which had been safe yet restricting for the authors of the time. Through the portrayals within poetry of nature and controversial subjects such as religion, politics and people, the romantic form was developed, with fresh ways of writing and new narrative styles.
However it was national and political influences that encouraged this movement. Religious debates had begun to occur. New Religions and the Church of England had begun to contradict and oppose each other and the fear of war oppressed many groups within society. The Romantic period portrayed a freedom and exhilaration for change and movements at the time, reducing an oppressive society. This presented a new liberation for writers and so their work tended to reflect the changes at the time.
The French revolution in 1789 was a literary turn-point. Writers that had for so long been restricted to ideas within literature such as patriotism, could now voice their political statements within their works.
How do these romantic features apply to "Waverley"? Do they at all?
Published in 1819, "Waverley" had a profound effect on literature and established Scott as a great novelist. Already known for his poetic works, this writer decided to expand in a way unheard of before.
When "Waverley" was published, its effect was immense. Scott used this to pose questions about historical focus, evolution in literature, public thinking and social opinions at the time. This is why one must understand the historical events taking place and the consequent changes of opinion and approaches to society. It is suggested that the novel "Waverley" revisits past pieces of Scottish literature, therefore maintaining an awareness of historical relevance. By doing this Scott is able to use the past as a setting for his writings and while doing so, he is able to reflect upon the time that Waverley was written and the proceeding eras. He was therefore able to explore history and develop an understanding of the ideology and social expectations of the time.
This influential Novel was set in the Jacobite revolution in 1745, in which class clashes had begun to form between those who wished the Stewards and their society to remain and those who wanted change. This affected the message of the novel greatly. The early chapters of the novel show how, despite family allegiance Edward maintains the Tory identity and...