Daniel Cook

Walter Scott’s Scottish Tales: The Graphic Novel

Walter Scott’s Scottish Tales is a feature-length graphic novel adaptation of three separate works that will be available for free online and in print. In this paper I will outline the theoretical underpinnings of this new book, as the academic consultant (and a contributing scripter), and discuss issues arising from the adaptive process. What has been taken out or added? What adjustments needed to be made for the visual medium? What new storytelling opportunities arose? The three stories are ‘The Two Drovers’, ‘The Highland Widow’, and ‘Wandering Willie’s Tale’. Whereas the first two texts come from Scott’s only short fiction collection, Chronicles of the Canongate, and are typically paired together, the final one is an inset tale taken from Redgauntlet. Unlike an anthology, which corrupts textual boundaries, a graphic adaptation of the selected stories can be rendered in vastly different styles, thereby upholding and even expanding the verbal framework of the original. Considering the theory and practice of adapting Scott’s short-form fiction into the bespoke forum of a graphic novel helps us to consider anew the extent to which Scott conformed to, or worked against, the emergent short story genre of the early nineteenth century.

Daniel Cook, University of Dundee