Five Questions: Daniel Cook on Walter Scott and Short Fiction

By Matthew Sangster

Daniel Cook is Reader in English Literature at the University of Dundee. His research interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, book history, authorship and appropriation studies, the gothic and the fantastical, the history of the novel, poetic genres, and Scottish and Irish writing more broadly. He has worked extensively on authors including Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Mary Shelley James Hogg and William Wordsworth. His first monograph, Thomas Chatterton and Neglected Genius, 1760-1830, was the subject of the first BARS Five Questions interview. In the past twelve months, he has published two new monographs: Reading Swift’s Poetry (with Cambridge University Press) and Walter Scott and Short Fiction (with Edinburgh University Press). We discuss the second of these books below.

1) How did you first become interested in Walter Scott?

I first read Scott as an undergraduate, about twenty years ago. On an introduction to fiction course we looked at Redgauntlet, with a particular focus on one of Scott’s best inset stories, “Wandering Willie’s Tale”. The form of the book fascinated me, perhaps more than the characters, at the time. That said, the minor villain Dan Cooke has …read more