A ""Sometime Fellow and Tutor...of Oxford, "" Christina Keith cared deeply for this book, and finished it on her deathbed. Her closeness to her subject, and the fact that Sir Walter Scott is apt to be little/read nowadays, make this a somewhat confusing book for the casual reader, since the few biographical facts are seen through his novels, and the chronology overlaps and backtracks through various essays on his work. Nevertheless, the writing is vivid, scholarly, and full of interesting insights and descriptions. Unlike modern novelists, says Miss Keith, Scott was not interested in motivation and character, but in story, violent action, and pictorial quality; and in the last section, she brilliantly analyzes his poetic use of language to heighten mood and scene, and his painter's ability to use color, with his physical depiction of landscapes and characters. If the book does demand some previous acquaintance with Scott, its knowledge, love, and energetic charm also make Scott attractive enough to send readers back to his chronicles of blood, war, and blazing adventure.