Great Scott

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What a shame Dr Mary Brown (Letters, 5 December) never got past page 43 of Walter Scott’s novels. If only she had persevered to page 55, she would have discovered that the dreary, impenetrable prose of the opening chapters of Scott’s books gives way to exciting adventure writing which modern readers can enjoy easily.

These sections are full of mystery and romance, and are often chock full of splendid dialogue in racy broad Scots. Since the novel was in its infancy, Scott felt he had to invent a dreary factual context for his romantic tales and this was the reason for his dull first chapters.

The simple, modern solution is to jump into the books where the story begins. I suggest Dr Brown begins with Ivanhoe or Redgauntlet, but I’m sure others can suggest their favourites. Scott was simply a literary giant both in his writing and in the influence of his writing on the development of the novel, and deserves to be read more widely.

I agree completely with Hugh Reilly (Perspective, 4 December) on the need for Scottish pupils and students to read and be examined on Scottish literature.

Only in Scotland could we have a debate on whether Scottish literature is good enough to be studied separately.

Brian Bannatyne-Scott

Murrayfield Drive