The Literature of
Orkney and Shetland

The Pirate

The Pirate

By Walter Scott
Researcher: Alison Lumsden
Writer: Jen Hadfield

The Pirate is by Walter Scott and was published in Edinburgh in 1822. It is very loosely based on the story of John Gow, the Orkney pirate, and is set in both Shetland and Orkney in 1689. It contrasts an older, Norse way of life, represented by Shetland’s remote landscape, language and customs with an encroaching modernity, at times captured in the influence of Scotland upon the islands. It is also a tale of thwarted love and the dangers of the ‘outsider’ upon a community. Scott, of course, was not from Shetland but visited in 1814 when he accompanied Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather on a cruise with the Northern Lighthouse Commission. A digitised edition of The Pirate can be found at http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/scott/walter/pirate/

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