Have scholars re-evaluated the historical accuracy of Walter Scott's novels? That is, are there defenses of his historical accuracy?

One of the first things one hears about his books is how "anachronistic" and "inaccurate" they are. In his own introduction to Ivanhoe, Scott himself admits to some anachronisms.

Have there been any defenses of his historical accuracy? Maybe not people saying he gets everything right but that he gets more stuff right than his reputation would suggest.

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Richard French offered a partial defence of Scott’s approach to history in his 1967 article ‘Sir Walter Scott as Historian’. French admitted Scott’s many errors and anachronisms:

Historical inaccuracies are abundant in Scott’s novels. The novel that has been most attacked is his most popular, Ivanhoe. Freeman (in his Norman Conquest)† and other writers have laboured over the errors of the book. It is confused in the combination of the customs of three centuries. Cedric, Athelstane, and Ulrica belong to an earlier period than 1194; Robin Hood belonged a century later. The Saxon gods are Scott’s own creation. Edward the Confessor left no descendants. In preparation for this novel Scott read widely in medieval chroniclers and acquired a mass of accurate antiquarian knowledge of arms, heraldry, monastic institutions, dress, and habits of the Middle Ages. But instead of attempting to depend entirely on historical sources for his material, Scott admits in his Introduction that he turned to the historical romances.

Richard French (1967). ‘Sir Walter Scott as Historian’. The Dalhousie Review 47:2, p. 163.

† Edward A. Freeman (1867). The History of the Norman Conquest of England: Its Causes and Its Results, volume 5, pp. 825 ff.. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

but French also defended the prerogative of a historical novelist to select and combine the most picturesque and dramatic incidents from legend, tradition, and romance, without being constrained by sober history:

Scott confesses, “indeed it was obvious, that history was violated.”† This violation of history in Ivanhoe, which Freeman and others have made so much of, is unimportant in comparison with the accomplishment of the novel in opening an entirely new field to the historical novel.

French, p. 164.

† Walter Scott (1830). Introduction to Ivanhoe, p. viii. London: Gresham.

French pointed out that Scott was well aware of many of his errors and committed them deliberately for artistic reasons:

In most lapses from historical accuracy, such as the introduction of Shakespeare as a character,† the historical error is contrived. Scott admits in Peveril of the Peak that Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess of Derby, represented as a Catholic, was, in fact, a French Protestant, but changing her religion enhanced his use of the Popish Plot as background. In a note to The Fortures of Nigel Scott shows that he knew that it was John Ramsay, afterwards Earl of Holderness, and not Scott’s imaginary Lord Huntinglen, who rescued James I from the dagger of Alexander Ruthven. In a footnote to Quentin Durward he admits that he knows that the real bride of William de la Marek was Joan D’Arshel, Baroness of Scoonhoven. He writes, “It is almost unnecessary to add, that the marriage of William de la Marek with the Lady Hameline is as apocryphal as the lady herself” (ch. 36). In a note to the novel he also states that history has been violated by the date assigned to the murder of the Bishop of Liège, Louis de Bourbon. And he again cautions the reader: “It is scarce necessary to repeat that, if he in reality murdered the Bishop of Liege in 1482, the Count of La Marek could not be slain in the defence of Liege four years earlier.”

French, p. 165.

† In Kenilworth, set in 1575, when the historical Shakespeare was eleven years old.

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