Walter Scott's "Memoirs", first published as "Memoir of the Early Life of Sir Walter Scott, Written by Himself" and also known as the Ashestiel fragment, is a short autobiographical work describing the author's ancestry, parentage, and life up to the age of 22. It is the most important source of information we have on Scott's early life.  It was mainly written between 1808 and 1811, then revised and completed in 1826, and first published posthumously in 1837 as Chapter 1 of J. G. Lockhart's multi-volume Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart. It was re-edited in 1981 by David Hewitt.
The author begins with the hope that his memoir will be both interesting and edifying. He traces the history of his family, giving particulars of his great-grandfather, Walter Scott, a Jacobite, his grandfather Robert Scott, a Whiggish sheep-farmer, and the Haliburton family, into which Robert Scott married. He then turns to his father, Walter Scott, an able and zealous but unbusinesslike solicitor, and his father's in-laws, the Rutherford family. Next he lists those of his siblings who survived to adulthood, including Robert, a junior naval officer of poetical tastes and bullying temperament, Anne, who was remarkably accident-prone and died young, Thomas, an unsuccessful farmer turned army officer, and Daniel, a ne'er-do-well. The author now reaches his own birth in Edinburgh on 15 August 1771 ("I believe")  and his infancy, in the course of which he fell ill and lost the use of one leg and also survived an attempt on his life by a deranged servant. Sent to recover with his maternal grandparents on their farm he heard tales of the Jacobite rebellions and traditional songs and ballads which formed his future taste and pursuits. He describes the parish clergyman, Dr. Duncan, a historian of the 1745 rebellion. When he was aged 3 his family sent Scott to Bath for a year under the care of an aunt, hoping, in vain, that this would accelerate his recovery. Aged about 6 he stayed for the sake of the sea air at Prestonpans, where he first met George Constable, later to be the model of his character Jonathan Oldbuck. Scott returned to family life in his father's house in George's Square, Edinburgh, and in 1779 he was enrolled in the High School. Though a popular boy his record as a scholar there was not at first distinguished, but it later improved under the teaching of the school's rector, Dr. Adams, from whom he derived a love of Latin literature. His growing love of English literature owed much to his own researches and the encouragement of Thomas Blacklock, who introduced him to the poems of Ossian and Spenser. He thus left the High School with much ill-organized knowledge and a love of books. The author then mentions his discovery of Percy's Reliques , which he adored, and his growing appreciation of natural beauty. As a student at the University of Edinburgh Scott entirely failed to learn Greek and made a poor showing at mathematics, but did better at ethics and moral philosophy, and also studied history and law. He was indentured to his father as an apprentice solicitor and drudged at the study of law, while also reading widely in chivalric romances and histories, especially during an illness which prostrated him, and studying French and Italian to enable himself to read yet more. Returned to health, he delighted in riding and walking through the countryside around Edinburgh in search of sites of scenic and historic interest. He also tried, but failed, to acquire any proficiency in painting and singing. He joined a number of literary societies, and used them to develop his skills in debating and composition and to improve his general education. His father offered to take him into partnership, but instead Scott began studying to be an advocate alongside his friend William Clerk. They qualified in Civil law in 1791, in Scots law in 1792, and "on 11 July 1792 we both assumed the gown with all its duties and honours".  Scott had reached the status of a gentleman with a place in Edinburgh society.
The manuscript of the "Memoirs", comprising three fascicles, was written intermittently between 1808 and 1826,  a period that saw several other literary memoirs: Coleridge's Biographia Literaria , De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater , Byron's never-published Memoirs, and the semi-autobiographical essays of Charles Lamb.  Scott began composing it, as the manuscript itself records, on 26 April 1808 at Ashestiel, his home near Selkirk, and continued until he had filled the first fascicle, ending with the account of his stay in Bath. He returned to the project in late 1810 or early 1811 and seems to have completed the second and third fascicles without any further breaks. He then abandoned his memoirs until 1826 when he wrote a number of new passages, some of which were intended to be interpolated into the text and some to appear as footnotes. Despite this revision the text was still not in a finished state. Among other faults it contained inconsistencies arising from the fact that it had been written over such a long stretch of time, but Scott gave the work no final polishing to remove them.  The manuscript shows that it was written fluently, with the lack of punctuation typical of Scott's final drafts.  Scott's "Memoirs" have often been considered a fragment,     though the literary scholar David Hewitt has argued that it is a complete work, only ever intended to show how the author came to man's estate. 
The "Memoirs" were never published in Scott's lifetime,  but after his death Scott's son-in-law J. G. Lockhart, according to his own claim, discovered the manuscript in an old cabinet at Abbotsford while writing the first volume of his Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., and decided to publish the "Memoirs" as the first chapter of his own work, "illustrating" them with his own researches into Scott's early life in the next five chapters.   He edited the "Memoirs" more faithfully than was always his practice, though he did print many of the 1826 passages as footnotes even when Scott had certainly intended that they appear in the main text.  He also added punctuation and dates. 
The Ashestiel fragment was displayed at the Scott Centenary Exhibition in 1871, but thereafter was unavailable to scholars for almost a hundred years until, in 1970, it was acquired by the National Library of Scotland.  It is now designated NLS MS Acc 4991.  It was edited from the original manuscript, for the first time since Lockhart's 1837 volume, by David Hewitt in 1981. This edition presents Scott's memoir more accurately than Lockhart did, differentiating the 1808–1811 text more clearly from the 1826 revisions.  
Reviews of the first volume of Lockhart's biography had much to say in praise of the Ashestiel fragment. The Literary Gazette thought it "decidedly the most interesting portion of the work",  The Monthly Review called it "the most engaging and diversified [memoir] that we have ever perused regarding the early life of any man",  and Tait's Edinburgh Magazine said that it "bears many characteristics of Scott's mingled sagacity, modesty, and amiability". Yet the last reviewer also thought it "meagre...and unsatisfactory",  while The Dublin Review , which found it to possess "very considerable interest", also thought it had "an appearance of premeditation and carefulness, that rather take away from the pleasure its perusal would otherwise give".  Lord Cockburn, a former Solicitor General for Scotland, noted in his diary that the "Memoirs" were admirable; "no man ever traced the sources of his own mental peculiarities more satisfactorily".  Later in the 19th century Scott's editor Andrew Lang regretted that Scott had not in 1826 extended the fragment to form a complete autobiography, since it would have been "more valuable, in all senses, than his later novels".  The modern critic David Hewitt has written of Scott's "Memoirs" that
His self-description is intelligent, discriminating and well-proportioned. His manner is relaxed...He varies the pace and tone of the narrative with anecdotes. He does not take himself too seriously and there is much amused self-observation. [It is] unquestionably a delightful work, and much the best description of his youth. 
He nevertheless finds "a lack of intimacy and no self-revelation".  He sees it as an exercise in teleological self-construction, examining his past life, and especially his early reading, for an explanation of his present success as a poet and ballad-collector.  In this respect he compares it unfavourably with Wordsworth's The Prelude , which, unlike the "Memoirs", "both describes his past experiences...and analyses their influence upon his mind as he creates". The interplay between the two time schemes of The Prelude, that covering the action and that covering the process of writing, "uncovers the fresh and immediate experience of the process of creation". 
Abbotsford is a historic country house in the Scottish Borders, near Galashiels, on the south bank of the River Tweed. Now open to the public, it was built as the residence of historical novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott between 1817 and 1825. It is a Category A Listed Building and the estate is listed in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, was a Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Many works remain classics of European and Scottish literature, notably the novels Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Waverley, Old Mortality, The Heart of Mid-Lothian and The Bride of Lammermoor, and the narrative poems The Lady of the Lake and Marmion. He had a major impact on European and American literature. As an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, he combined writing and editing with daily work as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire. He was prominent in Edinburgh's Tory establishment, active in the Highland Society, long a president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–1832), and a vice president of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1827–1829). His knowledge of history and literary facility equipped him to establish the historical novel genre and as an exemplar of European Romanticism. He became a baronet "of Abbotsford in the County of Roxburgh", Scotland, on 22 April 1820; the title became extinct on his son's death in 1847.
John Gibson Lockhart was a Scottish writer and editor. He is best known as the author of the seminal, and much-admired, seven-volume biography of his father-in-law Sir Walter Scott: Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart
James Hogg was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as a shepherd and farmhand, and was largely self-educated through reading. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, of whom he later wrote an unauthorised biography. He became widely known as the "Ettrick Shepherd", a nickname under which some of his works were published, and the character name he was given in the widely read series Noctes Ambrosianae, published in Blackwood's Magazine. He is best known today for his novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. His other works include the long poem The Queen's Wake (1813), his collection of songs Jacobite Relics (1819), and his two novels The Three Perils of Man (1822), and The Three Perils of Woman (1823).
Saunders Mucklebackit is a character in Walter Scott's 1816 novel The Antiquary, an elderly fisherman and smuggler who is bereaved of his son. Though a comparatively minor character he has often been singled out for praise as one of the novel's most masterly creations.
Jonathan Oldbuck is the leading character in Sir Walter Scott's 1816 novel The Antiquary. In accordance with Scottish custom he is often addressed by the name of his house, Monkbarns. He is devoted to the study and collection of old coins, books and archaeological relics, and has a marked tendency to misogyny due to disappointment in an early love affair. His characteristics have been traced back to several men known to Scott, and to the author himself, an enthusiastic antiquary. Many critics have considered him one of Scott's finest creations.
The Brahan Seer, known in his native Scottish Gaelic as Coinneach Odhar, and Kenneth Mackenzie, was, according to legend, a predictor of the future who lived in the 17th century.
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border is an anthology of Border ballads, together with some from north-east Scotland and a few modern literary ballads, edited by Walter Scott. It was first published in 1802, but was expanded in several later editions, reaching its final state in 1830, two years before Scott's death. It includes many of the most famous Scottish ballads, such as Sir Patrick Spens, The Young Tamlane, The Twa Corbies, The Douglas Tragedy, Clerk Saunders, Kempion, The Wife of Usher's Well, The Cruel Sister, The Dæmon Lover, and Thomas the Rhymer. Scott enlisted the help of several collaborators, notably John Leyden, and found his ballads both by field research of his own and by consulting the manuscript collections of others. Controversially, in the editing of his texts he preferred literary quality over scholarly rigour, but Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border nevertheless attracted high praise from the first. It was influential both in Britain and on the Continent, and helped to decide the course of Scott's later career as a poet and novelist. In recent years it has been called "the most exciting collection of ballads ever to appear."
Andrew Macdonald (1757–1790), pen name Matthew Bramble, was a Scottish clergyman, poet and playwright.
Gattonside is a small village in the Scottish Borders. It is located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) north of Melrose, on the north side of the River Tweed. In 1143, the lands of Gattonside were granted to the monks of Melrose Abbey by King David I.
Harold the Dauntless is a narrative poem in six short cantos by Walter Scott, published in 1817. It employs a variety of metres.
Robert Pitcairn was a Scottish antiquary and scholar who contributed to works published by Walter Scott and the Bannatyne Club. He was the author of Criminal Trials and other Proceedings before the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland (1829-1833). He was head of the Edinburgh Printing and Publishing Company and secretary of the Calvin Translating Society Pitcairn was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and a Writer to His Majesty’s Signet, and a member of the Maitland Club.
Sir Adam Ferguson (1770–1854) was deputy keeper of the regalia in Scotland.
The Journal of Sir Walter Scott is a diary which the novelist and poet Walter Scott kept between 1825 and 1832. It records the financial disaster which overtook him at the beginning of 1826, and the efforts he made over the next seven years to pay off his debts by writing bestselling books. Since its first complete publication in 1890 it has attracted high praise, being considered by many critics one of the finest diaries in the language.
Bizarro is an unfinished novel or novella by Sir Walter Scott written in the spring of 1832 but not published until 2008. Scott came across the story of the brigand Francesco Moscato, known as "Il Bizarro", while he was travelling in Italy, trying to recruit his ruined health. It was told to him as true by an English apothecary, resident in Italy, whom Scott considered "a respectable authority".
The Siege of Malta is a historical novel by Walter Scott written from 1831 to 1832 and first published posthumously in 2008. It tells the story of events surrounding the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks in 1565.
“Glenfinlas; or, Lord Ronald's Coronach” by Walter Scott, written in 1798 and first published in 1800, was, as Scott remembered it, his first original poem as opposed to translations from the German. A short narrative of 264 lines, it tells a supernatural story based on a Highland legend. Though highly appreciated by many 19th century readers and critics it is now overshadowed by his later and longer poems.
Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft Addressed to J. G. Lockhart, Esq. (1830) was a study of witchcraft and the supernatural by Sir Walter Scott. A lifelong student of folklore, Scott was able to draw on a wide-ranging collection of primary and secondary sources. His book found many readers throughout the 19th century, and exercised a significant influence in promoting the Victorian vogue for Gothic and ghostly fiction. Though on first publication it met with mixed reviews, it is now recognised as a pioneering work of scientific anthropology, treating of its subject in an acute and analytical way which prefigures later scholarship on the subject, as well as presenting a highly readable collection of supernatural anecdotes.
The letters of Sir Walter Scott, the novelist and poet, range in date from September 1788, when he was aged 17, to June 1832, a few weeks before his death. About 7000 letters from Scott are known, and about 6500 letters addressed to him. The major repository of both is the National Library of Scotland. H. J. C. Grierson's The Letters of Sir Walter Scott (1932–1937), though it includes only about 3500, remains the standard edition.
Illustrations of Northern Antiquities (1814), or to give its full title Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, from the Earlier Teutonic and Scandinavian Romances; Being an Abstract of the Book of Heroes, and Nibelungen Lay; with Translations of Metrical Tales, from the Old German, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic Languages; with Notes and Dissertations, was a pioneering work of comparative literature which provided translations and abstracts of various works written in medieval Germany and Scandinavia. Its three authors were Henry Weber, who précised the Nibelungenlied and Heldenbuch; Robert Jamieson, who translated Danish and other ballads, stressing their close connection with Scottish ballads; and Walter Scott, who provided an abstract of Eyrbyggja saga. It significantly extended British readers' access to early Germanic literature.