Sir Walter Scott Wikipedia portrait

Take heart, all of my readers who are also writers, for even Sir Walter Scott suffered at the hands and pens of critics.  Here is a quote from the anonymous “British Critic” in 1815, just after the publication of Scott’s second novel (in two volumes), Guy Mannering, or, The Astrologer.

“We cannot, however, conclude this article without remarking the absurd influence which our Author unquestionably attributes to the calculations of judicial astrology. 

… we cannot suppose that the Author can be endowed with sufficient folly to believe in the influence of planetary conjunctions himself, nor to have so miserable an idea of the understanding of his readers as to suppose them capable of a similar belief. We must also remember that the time of this novel is not in the dark ages, but scarcely forty years since; no aid, therefore, can be derived from the general tendency of popular superstition. What the clew may be to this apparent absurdity, we cannot imagine; whether the Author be in jest or earnest we do not know, and we are willing to suppose in this dilemma that he does not know himself.”


The text is from the Project Gutenberg eBook, which you may access online and read for free, but I hasten to warn you it is a tedious read, especially in modern times.

But I did find the quote amusing. MZ