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Waverley Novels revamped by experts

A former University scholar has contributed to the completion of a project to rescue Sir Walter Scott’s famous Waverley Novels.

Peter Garside a former Professor of English Literature has helped to correct more than 30,000 editorial errors in the Waverley Novels, written in the early 19th century by one of the University’s most celebrated alumnus, Sir Walter Scott.

Researchers led by Edinburgh University Press examined early editions of the novels to identify errors caused by bad typesetting and editorial mistakes.

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Experts tracked down manuscripts and early 19th century proof sheets from libraries in London, New York and Moscow.

The researchers, including Peter Garside a former Professor in English Literature at the University and senior lecturer Penny Fielding, discovered five or six mistakes per page - with a final tally of around 1,000 editorial errors per book.

It is believed that changes had never been insisted upon by Scott himself because he had never noticed the mistakes - and had little time to make corrections when he had completed a novel.

The project, which began 25 years ago was completed this month with the re-publication of The Talisman, the last in the 28-book sequence.