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Rob Roy (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

Rob Roy (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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Rob Roy 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In old age, pedestrian, unimaginative Protestant Frank Osbaldistone writes for a business partner reminiscenses of his brief, uncharacteristic, long ago adventures in northern England and Scotland. His rich merchant father had recalled Frank from four years business apprenticeship in France to begin a junior partnership in London. But Fran, fancying himself a poet, declines to join the family business. His father sends him in disgrace to the ancestral manor in the north of England. There he is immersed in the dissolute country gentleman's life of his father's Roman Catholic younger brother and his six sons. *** There he also meets and falls in love with orphaned 18 year old Diana Vernon, who by her father's will must either marry one of Frank's six cousins or enter a convent. Along with the youngest of her cousins, Rashleigh Osbaldistone, Diana is heavily into the political intrigues along the Border which lead to the premature rising in 1715 to restore the Stuart monarchy in Britain. Rashleigh rides south to replace Frank in the family business in London, where he defrauds Frank's father for funds to aid the Pretender and the rebellion. *** Frank pursues his cousin's misdeeds 50 miles northwest to Glasgow and later crosses north over the Highlands Line in the same cause. *** In the process Frank is aided by Rob Roy (Red Robert) MacGregor, once a cattle drover but now driven by hard times to cattle stealing and opposition to powerful Scottish lords and other neighbors. Frank is also drawn into helping to put down the Rising.*** The novel is very fast paced. For those (like myself) who are not bilingual in Scots-English, it can be slow going at times as the various Scotsmen break into untranslated utterances in their version of English. Fortunately, there are only a few bursts of true Highland Gaelic (mercifully translated). This is a rollicking tale of Protestants coming to terms with Catholics, of Scots and Englishmen, of Hanoverians and Jacobites. It is also a lyric introduction to the geography of the western parts of the Border. -OOO-
darinbradley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Too obfuscatory for a rating of 3 (even for 19th century literature), even if Scott's explorations are poignant and resounding.
thorold on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read Rob Roy directly after Waverley, which doesn't make much sense historically (Waverley is set in 1745 and Rob Roy in 1715), but does provide an interesting contrast. At one level, they are both about young Englishmen who make friends with bare-kneed Scotsmen, get mixed up in Jacobite rebellions, and chase round the Scottish countryside feeling alternately Romantic and faintly foolish. Rob Roy is clearly a maturer novel than Waverley, more tightly structured and with a rather smaller cast, but Scott's use of a first-person narrator writing in an early-19th century version of mid-18th century English makes it feel somewhat heavier, even plodding in the early chapters, although this evens out later on as we (or Scott) get used to Frank Osbaldistone's voice.Rob Roy himself is presented as a sort of Scottish Michael Kohlhaas (Kleist's novella appeared in 1810) -- a cattle trader who sets out to take revenge after being ruined by an act of arbitrary aristocratic power. He comes and goes on the margins of Osbaldistone's story, extricating him from various difficulties. But Scott makes sure we remember that, good-hearted though Rob Roy is, he lives in a world of violence and disorder. The gruesome description of Helen MacGregor ordering the summary execution of Morris should be enough to jerk most readers out of the Scotch mist and back to the real world.As Antimuzak has said, the real underlying theme of Rob Roy is commerce as an organising, civilising force. Bailie Nicol Jarvie, middle-aged Glasgow businessman and magistrate, is the real hero of the story, a precursor of John Buchan's Dickson McCann. His sword has been rusted solid in its scabbard for years, but he represents the force of reason and stability that will ultimately come out on top. An unexpected bit of treasure is Diana Vernon. She can hunt, ride and shoot as well as any man, is intelligent, has been at least as well educated as Frank, and speaks her mind on all occasions, livening up what might otherwise be the rather dull opening part of the book considerably. Scott seems to have been a bit scared of her, from the way he gives her only a rather passive and transient role in the second half of the book. Interesting to remember that Rob Roy was published the year Jane Austen died.
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