It is well known that Walter Scott adapted the forms of sentimental fiction for his initial trilogy of novels on Scottish manners and that he drew on philosophical theories of sympathy when conceiving of his characters and placing them in historical relation to one another and to his readership. Scott's adaptations of sentimentalism and of theories of sympathy come into sharper focus, however, once one takes seriously his claim that Stoicism is his proper philosophy and traces his ironic treatment of the figure of the sympathetic Stoic undermined by sentiment back to its eighteenth-century antecedents in Joseph Addison and Adam Smith. Like two of his early protagonists, Guy Mannering the astrologer and Jonathan Oldbuck the antiquary, “the Author of Waverley” is himself a compromised Stoic, yet Scott's narratives demonstrate repeatedly how, while it may fail on its own terms, the ancient philosophy of apathy creates the conditions of possibility for modern romance.
Samuel Baker; Scott's Stoic Characters: Ethics, Sentiment, and Irony in The Antiquary, Guy Mannering, and “the Author of Waverley”. Modern Language Quarterly 1 December 2009; 70 (4): 443–471. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2009-011
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