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UBC Theses and Dissertations

L'influence de Sir Walter Scott sur Victor Hugo MacKay, Hector Ronaldson

Abstract

The influence of Sir Walter Scott was strongly felt in all branches of French Romantic literature. The dramatists went repeatedly to the Waverley Novels for their plots, and many of the more original plays of the period show positive traces of the influence of Scott in character, dialogue and incident. The poets and novelists learned from Scott the art of portraiture and of landscape painting. To this must be added the far greater skill of combining character and background in such a manner as to bring out the salient traits of the former. This was Scott's greatest and most original contribution. Hugo, one of the first French writers to come under the influence of the author of Waverley, was also unquestionably the most strongly affected. His early critical writings show the keen interest with which he followed the translations of the Waverley. Furthermore, it was from his first readings of Scott that Hugo conceived the method of novel-writing which he was to use with such great success in his later prose works. The current Romantic interest in the picturesque stemmed largely from Scott. The glittering pageantry of the Middle Ages, the spirited account of battles and tournaments, all of which were already to be found in their own literature, came to French writers principally through the medium of Scott. Coupled with this search for the picturesque in all its forms was the quest for local colour. The combination of these two elements in Scott and their further development in Hugo, gave to French fictional literature a verisimilitude hitherto unattained.

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