Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black, 1871. Centenary Edition. Twenty-five small octavo volumes (7 3/16 x 4 3/4 inches; 182 x 121 mm). Illustrated with twenty- five engraved frontispieces and vignette title-pages. Bound ca. 1871 in full contemporary tan calf, covers double-ruled in gilt. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments, with red and green morocco gilt lettering labels, marbled endpapers, all edges marbled. Auction lot sticker on front board of Volume 7. Gilt on spines a little dull, still a VG+ set in a contemporary binding.
"Scott's influence as a novelist was incalculable; he established the form of the historical novel, and, according to V.S. Pritchett, the form of the short story. He was avidly read and imitated throughout the 19th century, not only by historical novelists such as Ainsworth and Bulwer-Lytton, but also by writers like Mrs. Gaskell, G. Eliot, the Brontës, and many others, who treated rural themes, contemporary peasant life, regional speech, etc., in a manner that owed much to Scott. His reputation gradually declined (though his medieval and Tudor romances retained a popular readership) until there was a revival of interest…in the 1930s…In 1951 three seminal essays were published…these heralded a considerable upsurge of scholarly activity and reappraisal, most of which concurs in regarding the Scottish 'Waverley' novels as his masterpieces" (Oxford Companion to English Literature). (Item #3773)