"The Disinherited Knight's Challenge"

Walter Scott died in 1832. The plantation aristocracy that, MT argued, fell under the evil spell of his romances had been a casualty of the Civil War. But by trying to demystify the idea of Arthur's Court in 1889, MT was by no means beating a dead horse. The popular plantation tales that began appearing not long after Tom Sawyer often implied that the ante bellum South was indeed a kind of American Camelot: a brief shining moment in the past when chivalrous gentlemen fought duels and other battles for fair heroines. And Scott's tales were as popular at the end of the century as they had ever been. According to James D. Hart, a survey of America's public libraries in 1893 revealed that Scott was the most frequently requested author by their patrons. To meet such demands, newly printed sets of his romances regularly came out, like the 1893 Dayburgh Edition of Ivanhoe, in which this illustration appeared.

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