The relation between Sir Walter Scott and Scotland is that of the hen and the egg: we can never be sure what came first and who authored whom. Such paradoxes are typical also of the ways in which Scott’s authorship and anonymity are entangled with one another. After a general reflection on how authorship may feature as anonymity and vice versa, this article turns to some of Scott’s autobiographical documents which consider physical illness and anonymity not as handicaps but as empowering to his writing. Scott’s novel Redgauntlet is autobiographical precisely in that it echoes these correlations of illness, incognito and authorship. Especially through his indebtedness to Scottish legends and (anonymous) oral performance, the case of Walter Scott encourages us to imagine alternative models of authorship which simultaneously undermine and supplement Roland Barthes’ manifesto of “The Death of the Author.”
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