«Kenilworth» is a historical novel by sir Walter Scott, published in January 1821. It was published by Constable and Co. in collaboration with the London firm of Hurst, Robinson, and Co., since the cooperation with the publisher Longman in October of 1820 broke up.
The story of this novel is mentioned in the book biographer Scott George. G. Lockhart’s “Life of Sir Walter Scott”. Times in the previous novel — was delighted — the author tells the story of Mary Stuart, the next book the publisher Archibald constable suggested to devote the sworn political enemy of Mary Stuart — Queen Elizabeth I. the Author took up this offer.
In the introduction Scott writes: “the Real or only apparent success, which the author made in describing the life of Queen Mary, naturally induced him to undertake a similar attempt in relation to “her sister and foe,” The celebrated Elizabeth”. The writer, however, did not take the hint to call the new book The Armada and build a story around the Spanish invasion. Instead, he focused on the story of the alleged murder of Amy Robsart, the first wife of Earl Robert Dudley (favourite of Elizabeth I).
Letter constable was not preserved. Presumably it was received by Scott in late December 1819—January 1820. In mid-January signed a contract to write a new book, although the author has worked on the “Monastery” and even started a novel “The Abbot” (both published in 1820). However, “Kenilworth” was completed in December, 1820.
In the Preface Scott mentions that in his youth he liked the ballad Mikli about the castle of Cumnor Hall. Originally, he planned to call the book “Cumnor hall”. Constable, had a significant help in ensuring Scott’s extensive list of reference materials, suggested the name “Kenilworth,” in honor of Kenilworth castle, to which the writer agreed. The title of the novel refers to belonging to Dudley Castle Kenilworth, you in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
The novel is set apparently in 1575, and describes the secret marriage of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Amy Robsart, daughter of sir Hugh Robsart. Events begins when Amy flees her father and her betrothed, Tressilian to marry the count. Amy passionately loves her husband, and the Earl loves her back, but he has career ambitions. He is trying to Woo Elizabeth I and hopes to gain power by hiding the marriage with Amy. At the end of the book to shame count Queen finally reveals the truth. But the disclosure of his deception was too late, as even more ambitious than his master the servant to the count, Varney has already been killed Amy.
“Kenilworth” was well received by readers and critics. To survey The Edinburgh Review for example praised the image of Elizabeth, and The Quarterly called it “striking and magnificent” character. However, as it was afraid of Scott, and The Quarterly Gentleman’s Magazine found the ending too tragic.
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