University of Warwick branded ‘cowards’ for putting trigger warnings on ‘offensive’ text

Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe contains ‘offensive’ depictions of black slaves and Arab muslims

A descendent of 19th century author Sir Walter Scott has called University of Warwick “cowards” for placing trigger warnings on his ancestor’s novel.

Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, originally published in 1819, follows the story of one of the last Anglo-Saxon noble families after the failure of the third crusade in the 12th century. The book contains “offensive” depictions of black salves and Arab Muslims captives who are prejudiced against Jews, leading the university to warn students about the text’s “racist” and “misogynist” content.

However, Scott’s great-great-great-great grandson Matthew Maxwell Scott, who is a trustee of the residence where Scott died in 1832, has shared his “disappointment” at the university’s placement of the trigger warnings, describing it as “a coward’s charter”, The Telegraph reports.

via Waterstones

Maxwell Scott said: “Today, social media and the growth of academia provide new playgrounds for the modern bully. Long-deceased artists are a particular target. We seem to have lost the ability to appreciate an artistic output as a product of its time.

“Scott, father of the historical novel, used his meticulous research to transport readers of Ivanhoe to a different moral landscape, one alien to the Enlightenment world he was forged in, let alone to that of today.

“Seeking out theoretical faults rather than identifying the many positives is a shame. Consider Scott’s contribution to our language. He is the third most-quoted novelist in the Oxford English Dictionary.”

A spokesperson for the University of Warwick said: “We believe students should be exposed to challenging ideas, stories and themes through their studies and view it as an essential part of learning and understanding different perspectives. That’s why the university does not ask departments to issue content notice for course materials.

“However, a small number of departments and academics choose to do so, making their own judgement and rationale for deciding on what guidance they feel may be needed for the coursework they set.

“We fully respect our colleagues right to exercise their academic freedom in this way, but the practice remains rare within the university with less than one per cent of our overall curriculum including any content guidance.”

Featured image before edits via Waterstones.

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