A DESCENDENT of legendary Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott has blasted academics at a UK university for warning students against "racism" and "misogyny" in one of his novels.

Scott’s 1819 novel Ivanhoe has been hit with trigger warnings for students at the University of Warwick over its "offensive" depictions of black slaves and Arab Muslim captives who are prejudiced against Jews.

But the author’s great-great-great-great grandson, Matthew Maxwell Scott, has hit back at the academics, describing the move as a “coward’s charter”.

He said: “Today, social media and the growth of academia provide new playgrounds for the modern bully. Long-deceased artists are a particular target.”

Maxwell Scott, a trustee of his ancestor’s residence at Abbotsford in Melrose where the famous novelist died in 1832, said the university’s warning was “disappointing”, adding: “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 judgment 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.”