Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Edinburgh. Educated for the law, he obtained the office of sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire in 1799 and in 1806 the office of clerk of session, a post whose duties he fulfilled for some twenty-five years. His lifelong interest in Scottish antiquity and the ballads which recorded Scottish history led him to try his hand at narrative poems of adventure and action.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805),
Marmion (1808), and
The Lady of the Lake (1810) made his reputation as one of the leading poets of his time. A novel,
Waverley, which he had begun in 1805, was published anonymously in 1814. Subsequent novels appeared with the note “by the author of Waverley”; hence his novels often are called collectively “the Waverley novels.” Some of the most famous of these are
Old Mortality (1816),
Rob Roy (1817),
Kenilworth (1821), and
Quentin Durward (1823). In recognition of his literary work Scott was made a baronet in 1819. During his last years he held various official positions and published biographies, editions of Swift and Dryden, tales, lyric poetry, and various studies of history and antiquity.
Old Mortality is a novel by Sir Walter Scott set in the period 1679–89 in south west Scotland. It forms, along with The Black Dwarf, the 1st series of Scott's Tales of My Landlord. The two novels were published together in 1816. Old Mortality is considered one of Scott's best novels. It was originally titled The Tale of Old Mortality, but is generally shortened in most references