Outlander (novel)

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Outlander
Outlander-1991 1st Edition cover.jpg
First edition cover
Author Diana Gabaldon
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Series Outlander series
Genre Historical fiction
Romance
Science fantasy
PublishedJune 1, 1991
Publisher Delacorte Books
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages640
ISBN 0385302304
Followed by Dragonfly in Amber  

Outlander (published in the United Kingdom as Cross Stitch) is the first in a series of eight historical multi-genre novels by Diana Gabaldon. Published in 1991, it focuses on the Second World War-era nurse Claire Randall, who travels through time to 18th century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing Jamie Fraser. [1] A mix of several genres, the Outlander series has elements of historical fiction, romance, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. [1] Outlander won the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991. [2] A television adaptation of the Outlander series premiered on Starz in the US on August 9, 2014. [3]

Diana Gabaldon American author

Diana J. Gabaldon is an American author, known for the Outlander series of novels. Her books merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. A television adaptation of the Outlander novels premiered on Starz in 2014.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Claire Fraser (character) fictional character in the Outlander series

Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is a fictional character in the Outlander series of multi-genre novels by American author Diana Gabaldon, and its television adaptation. In the series, Claire is a married World War II nurse visiting Scotland who finds herself transported from 1945 back to 1743. There she finds adventure, war and romance with the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser. Smart, stubborn and willful, Claire uses her wits, practical medical skills and knowledge of the future to survive in the 18th century.

Contents

Plot summary

In 1946, after working apart during the Second World War, British Army nurse Claire Randall and her husband Frank Randall, a history professor, go on a second honeymoon to Inverness, Scotland. Frank conducts research into his family history and Claire goes plant-gathering near standing stones on the hill of Craigh na Dun. Investigating a buzzing noise near the stones, she touches one and faints; upon waking, she encounters Frank's ancestor, Captain Jack Randall. Before Captain Randall can attack her, he is knocked unconscious by a highlander who takes Claire to his clansmen. As the Scots inexpertly attend their injured comrade Jamie, Claire uses her medical skill to set Jamie's dislocated shoulder. The men identify themselves as members of Clan MacKenzie, and Claire eventually concludes that she has traveled into the past. She represents herself as an English widow who is traveling to France to see her family. The Scots do not believe her and take her to Castle Leoch, where Claire searches for a way to return to her own time.

Inverness City in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen at its north-eastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim in the 12th century. The Gaelic king Mac Bethad Mac Findláich (MacBeth) whose 11th-century killing of King Duncan was immortalised in Shakespeare's largely fictionalized play Macbeth, held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross.

The highlanders of 1743 see Claire as a "Sassenach", or "Outlander", ignorant of Gaelic culture. Her medical skills eventually earn their respect; but the clan chieftain, Colum MacKenzie, suspects her of being an English spy. Colum sends her with his brother, Dougal, to collect rents; on the way he also solicits donations for the Jacobites, overseen by Ned Gowan, a lawyer from Edinburgh who is working for the Clan.

Jacobitism political ideology

Jacobitism was the name of the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The movement was named after Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

When chance again brings her to his attention, Captain Randall tells Dougal to bring Claire to him for questioning. There is suspicion that she is perhaps an English spy. To keep Claire from Randall, Dougal has her wed Jamie, which makes her a Scottish citizen. Torn between her attachment to Jamie and the thought of Frank, Claire tries to return to Craigh na Dun. However, she is captured by Randall's men, requiring Jamie to rescue her. Upon returning to Castle Leoch, Claire continues acting as the official healer, and befriends Geillis Duncan, the wife of a local official, who shares a knowledge of medicine. Eventually Claire and Geillis are charged with witchcraft while Jamie is away, but Jamie returns in time to save Claire. While imprisoned with Geillis, Claire learns that Geillis is part of the plot to restore King James to the Scottish throne along with Dougal and that she is also pregnant with his child. Just before their escape, Claire realizes that Geillis is, like herself, from the future, when she sees a smallpox vaccine scar on her arm. Geillis also sees Claire's scar.

Smallpox vaccine Vaccine against Variola virus

Smallpox vaccine, the first successful vaccine to be developed, was introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796. He followed up his observation that milkmaids who had previously caught cowpox did not later catch smallpox by showing that inoculated cowpox protected against inoculated smallpox.

Claire tells Jamie her real story, and he takes her to Craigh na Dun. When he offers her the chance to stay or go, she decides to stay. Jamie takes her to his home of Lallybroch, where they meet Jamie's sister Jenny and her husband, Ian. Though Jamie is still a fugitive from the British, he reclaims his position as Laird of Lallybroch, until one of his tenants betrays him and he is taken to Wentworth Prison. Claire and the MacKenzie clansmen attempt to rescue him, but they fail, and Claire is captured by Randall, who threatens to have her raped. Jamie offers himself in Claire's place, and Randall frees Claire into the woods. Claire tells Randall that she is a witch and tells him the exact day of his death, which she knows from Frank's family history. Thereafter Claire is befriended by Sir Marcus MacRannoch, a former suitor of Jamie's mother. While MacRannoch's men distract Wentworth's guards, the clansmen drive a herd of cattle through the underground halls, trampling a man. They rescue Jamie, who has been assaulted physically and sexually by Randall, and take him to MacRannoch's stronghold, where Claire tends Jamie's wounds. As soon as Jamie is able, they and Jamie's godfather, Murtagh, escape to Saint Anne de Beaupre's monastery in France, where another of Jamie's uncles is abbot. As she and Jamie emerge from a sacred hot spring under the Abbey, Claire reveals that she is pregnant. [4]

Hot spring spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater

A hot spring is a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth's crust. While some of these springs contain water that is a safe temperature for bathing, others are so hot that immersion can result in injury or death.

Main characters

Jamie Fraser (character) fictional character in Outlander series

James "Jamie" Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser is a fictional character in the Outlander series of multi-genre novels by American author Diana Gabaldon, and its television adaptation. In the series, married World War II nurse Claire Randall is visiting Scotland when she finds herself transported from 1945 back to 1743. There she finds adventure, war and romance with the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser. Jamie also appears in two novels in the Lord John series of historical mysteries, and in the 2013 novella Virgins.

Procurator fiscal

A procurator fiscal, sometimes called PF or fiscal, is a public prosecutor in Scotland. They investigate all sudden and suspicious deaths in Scotland, conduct fatal accident inquiries and handle criminal complaints against the police. They also receive reports from specialist reporting agencies such as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Development and inspiration

Diana Gabaldon planned to write a historical novel "for practice", but did not have a specific setting in mind until she happened to watch The War Games , a classic Doctor Who serial, on PBS. [5] Her eye was caught by the character Jamie McCrimmon, a young Scot from 1745 played by actor Frazer Hines. [5] The image of the young man in the kilt stayed with her, and she decided to set her novel in 18th century Scotland. [5] She named her male protagonist "Jamie" after the Doctor Who character (however, the surname "Fraser" was not taken from actor Frazer Hines, since the PBS station cut off the programme's credits). [5]

Gabaldon's initial plan was to write a "straight historical novel", but as she began to write the character of Claire, she says the character "promptly took over the story and began telling it herself, making smart-ass modern remarks about everything." [6] Gabaldon decided to make the character a modern woman and determine how she came to be in 18th century Scotland later. [6]

Gabaldon acknowledged a date discrepancy between the American version of the novel, the plot of which begins in 1945, and the British version, which begins in 1946. [7] She explained, "Reay Tannahill, a Scot who kindly proofread the novel before it was published in the UK, said that 1946 would have been a more accurate representation of conditions as I described them in Scotland." [7] Gabaldon was able to rework all of the dates for the UK edition, but the American version was too far along in production to change. [7]

Reception and awards

Publishers Weekly said of Outlander, "Absorbing and heartwarming, this first novel lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland, quickening both with realistic characters and a feisty, likable heroine." [8] The novel won the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991. [2]

Television series

In June 2013, Starz ordered 16 episodes of a television adaptation, and production began in October 2013 in Scotland. [9] The series premiered in the US on August 9, 2014. [3] It was picked up for a second season on August 15, 2014, [10] and for a third and fourth season on June 1, 2016. [11] On May 9, 2018, Starz renewed the series for a fifth and sixth season. [12]

Other adaptations

In 2010 Gabaldon adapted the first third of Outlander into The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel , illustrated by Hoang Nguyen. [13] [14] [15] The same year, a 14-song cycle based on Outlander was released under the title Outlander: The Musical . [16] [17] [18]

Related Research Articles

Frazer Hines English actor and cancer survivor

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<i>Dragonfly in Amber</i> book by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber is the second book in the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Centered on time travelling 20th century nurse Claire Randall and her 18th century Scottish Highlander warrior husband Jamie Fraser, the books contain elements of historical fiction, romance, adventure and science fiction/fantasy. This installment chronicles Claire and Jamie's efforts to prevent the Jacobite rising that Claire knows will end disastrously for the Scots.

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<i>Lord John</i> series sequence of historical mystery novels and shorter works

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References

  1. 1 2 Reese, Jennifer (November 27, 2007). "Book Review: Lord John and the Hand of Devils (2007)". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "RITA Awards: Past Winners". Romance Writers of America . Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  3. 1 2 Ng, Philiana (May 8, 2014). "Starz's Outlander Gets First Poster, Premiere Date". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  4. Gabaldon, Diana (1991). Outlander. New York: Dell. ISBN   0-440-21256-1.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Gabaldon, Diana. "FAQ: About the Books: Scotland". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  6. 1 2 Gabaldon, Diana. "FAQ: About the Books: Idea". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 Gabaldon, Diana. "FAQ: About the Books: Discrepancy". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  8. "Fiction Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon". PublishersWeekly.com. June 3, 1991. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  9. Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2013). "Outlander Greenlighted To Series By Starz". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  10. Hibberd, James (August 15, 2014). "Outlander renewed for second season". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  11. Prudom, Laura (June 1, 2016). "Outlander Renewed for Seasons 3 and 4". Variety . Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  12. Roots, Kimberly (May 9, 2018). "Outlander Renewed for Seasons 5 and 6, Plus: See First Season 4 Photos". TVLine . Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  13. Brienza, Casey (September 21, 2010). "The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel". GraphicNovelReporter.com. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  14. "Fiction Book Review: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel". Publishers Weekly . August 23, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  15. "Official site: The Exile (graphic novel)". DianaGabaldon.com. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  16. "PROGRESS! OUTLANDER:The Musical now on Amazon!". DianaGabaldon.com. September 26, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  17. "Outlander the Musical". DianaGabaldon.com. October 26, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  18. "Stage Tube: First Listen of Jill Santoriello's Outlander Musical". BroadwayWorld.com. July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2014.