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Ivanhoe: A Classic Historical Fiction

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Ivanhoe; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous Ivanhoe; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous) social value compared to the epic poetry that had brought him public acclaim. In an innovative and astute action, he wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, under the guise of anonymity. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745 in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its English protagonist was Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Becoming enmeshed in events, however, he eventually chooses Hanoverian respectability. There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open, he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley". This edition includes free audio book for download.


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Ivanhoe; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous Ivanhoe; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous) social value compared to the epic poetry that had brought him public acclaim. In an innovative and astute action, he wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, under the guise of anonymity. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745 in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its English protagonist was Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Becoming enmeshed in events, however, he eventually chooses Hanoverian respectability. There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open, he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley". This edition includes free audio book for download.

30 review for Ivanhoe: A Classic Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    I believe Ivanhoe just misses being a great novel for two reasons. First of all, its characters, although not without subtlety, lack depth. (The exception to the rule is the “Jewess” Rebecca). Secondly, Scott’s style—at least as demonstrated here—suffers from a wordiness that continually dissipates the novel’s power. It is nevertheless an impressive achievement, original in conception, rich in themes, formidable in architecture, and powerful in its effects.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (Book 930 from 1001 books) - Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels. At the time it was written it represented a shift by Scott away from fairly realistic novels set in Scotland in the comparatively recent past, to a somewhat fanciful depiction of medieval England. Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon (Book 930 from 1001 books) - Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels. At the time it was written it represented a shift by Scott away from fairly realistic novels set in Scotland in the comparatively recent past, to a somewhat fanciful depiction of medieval England. Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a time when the nobility in England was overwhelmingly Norman. It follows the Saxon protagonist, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who is out of favour with his father for his allegiance to the Norman king Richard the Lionheart. The story is set in 1194, after the failure of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to their homes in Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by Leopold of Austria on his return journey to England, was believed to still be in captivity. عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «انگلیس در هشت قرن پیش با قسمتهایی از جنگهای صلیبی»؛ «آیوانهو»؛ «آیوانهوئه»؛ نویسنده سر والتر اسکات؛ (توسن) ادبیات بریتانیا؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دهم ماه ژوئن سال 2014میلادی عنوان: انگلیس در هشت قرن پیش با قسمتهایی از جنگهای صلیبی؛ تالیف سروالتر اسکات؛ ترجمه و نگارش عبدالله انصاری؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، شرکت مطبوعات، 1320، مشخصات ظاهری 160ص؛ این کتاب تحت عنوان «آیوانهوئه» در سالهای مختلف با مترجمان و ناشران متفاوت چاپ گردیده است، موضوع: داستان‌های نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 19م، انگلستان - تاریخ - ریچارد اول، سال 1189میلادی - 1199م – داستان - سده 19م عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم خسرو شایسته؛ تهران، سپیده، 1364، در 174ص؛ مصور، فروس: انتشارات سپیده دوازده، کتاب برای نخستین بار با عنوان «آیوانهو» با ترجمه عنایت الله شکیباپور توسط انتشارات توسن منتشر شده است عنوان: ایوانهو (متن کوتاه شده)؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: تهمینه مظفری؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1386، در 298ص، شابک9789643059545؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم عنایت الله شکیباپور؛ تهران، توسن، 1363، در 87ص؛ مصور، فروست انتشارات سپیده دوازده؛ عنوان: ایوانهو (متن کوتاه شده)؛ تالیف سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم شکوفه اخوان؛ تهران، نهال نویدان، 1375، در159ص، شابک9649004653؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم محمدتقی دانیا؛ تهران، دبیر، 1386، در 208ص، شابک9789642621224؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم محمدتقی دانیا؛ تهران، دادجو دبیر، 1388، در174ص، شابک9789642621224؛ سِر والتر اسکات، رمان‌نویس، شاعر، تاریخ‌دان و زندگی‌نامه‌ نویس «اسکاتلندی»، که ایشان را پدر رمان تاریخی می‌دانند، قالبی را که ایشان برای این سبک از ادبیات داستانی، به‌ کار بسته، تا به امروز از آن قالب پیروی شده‌ است؛ اشعار، و رمان‌های معروف به «وِیورلی» ایشان، به بازگویی رخدادهای هیجان انگیز، در باره ی تاریخ میهن اش می‌پردازند، و سایر رمان‌های ایشان، به «بریتانیا»، و «فرانسه»ی دوران سده های میانه ی میلادی برمی‌گردند، که شخصیت‌های آنها را «شاهان»، «ملکه‌ ها»، «مردان سیاسی»، «مزرعه‌ داران»، «گدایان»، و «راهزنان»، شکل می‌دهند والتر اسکات ویلفرد آیوانهو، پسر «سدریک»، یکی از اشراف «ساکسون»، به «لیدی راونا»، دختری تحت قیمومت پدرش، و از اسلاف «آلفرد شاه»، دلباخته، ولی «سدریک»، که طرفدار پر و پا قرص بازگشت نژاد «ساکسون» به سلطنت «انگلستان» است، می‌اندیشد که با دادن «راونا» به یکی «ساکسون»ها، که خون پادشان در رگهایش جاری است، به هدف خود خواهد رسید؛ او که از عشق دو جوان، به یکدیگر، بسیار خشمگین شده است، پسرش را تبعید می‌کند؛ «آیونهو» به همراه «ریچارد شیردل»، به جنگهای صلیبی می‌رود، و دیری نمی‌گذرد، که احترام و محبت «ریچارد» را به خود جلب می‌کند پرنس جان، در غیاب برادر، در صدد برمی‌آید، که بر تخت و تاج دست یابد؛ این رخداد همانند همیشه، برای «والتر اسکات»، بهانه ی خلق رخدادهای درخشانی می‌شود؛ مسابقه ی بزرگ «آشبی دولازوش» که در آن «آیونهو»، پیشاپیش «ریچارد»، تمام شهسواران «پرنس جان»، و از جمله «سر بریاند دوبوا گیلبر»، شهسوار سرسخت پرستشگاه، و «سر رجینالد گاو پیشانی» را شکست می‌دهد، قابل توجه است؛ همچنین باید به ماجرای یورش به قلعه ی «تورکیلستون» اشاره کرد، که در آن یورش، «آیونهو» زخمی می‌شود؛ «سدریک»، «راونا»، «آتلستان»، «اسحاق یورکی یهودی»، و دختر با شهامتش «ربکا»، به دست اشراف «نورمان»، زندانی شده‌ اند؛ اما پس از نبردی سخت، گروهی از راهزنها و «ساکسون»ها، که «رابین هود لاکسلی» افسانه‌ ای، و «ریچارد شاه»، بر آنها فرمان می‌رانند، قلعه را بازپس می‌گیرند؛ «اولریش» «ساکسون» پیر، که محبوبه ی قاتل پدرش شده است، و با افشاندن بذر نفاق میان «نورمان»ها، انتقام خود را گرفته است، قلعه را آتش می‌زند؛ زندانیان آزاد می‌شوند، ولی «بواگیلبر» که دلباخته ی «ربکا» شده، او را با خود به «تمپلستو» می‌برد؛ چون دختر جوان، عشق شهسوار پرستشگاه را نمی‌پذیرد؛ مرد نیز او را به جادوگری متهم می‌کند؛ خوشبختانه «آیوانهو»، که در دوئلی با «بواگیلبر» روبرو می‌شود، دختر جوان را آزاد می‌کند آیوانهو با «لیدی راونا» ازدواج می‌کند، و «ربکا»، چون کاری دیگر از دستش برنمی‌آید، به همراه پدر خویش «انگلستان» را ترک می‌کند؛ در میان شخصیتهای درجه دوم، باید به «رابین هود»، «برادر تاک راهب سرباز»، «وامبای دلقک»، و «اسحاق یهودی»، که به «شیلاک» «شکسپیر» شباهت دارد، و در وجودش سودای پول، و عشق ابدی، باهم در جدال هستند، اشاره کرد؛ این رمان در «اروپا» با موفقیت روبرو شد؛ «آیونهو» همراه با «کوئنتین دوروارد» منشأ موج رمان تاریخی به شمار می‌رود، که نتایج تتبع تاریخی را به زنده‌ ترین منابع تخیل پیوند می‌زند؛ تمام تردیدهایی که در مورد پژوهش تاریخی بتوان ابراز داشت، به پیروزی اثر آسیب نمی‌زند، زیرا تازگی سبک، همه‌ جا آشکار است؛ «والتر اسکات»، چنانکه خود در تقدیم‌ نامه ی اثر می‌نویسندد، تنها میخواسته، که رنگ تاریخی رمان را نگهبانی کند؛ او میخواسته چیزی جز واقعیت تاریخی، در آن راه ندهد، در گزینش جزئیات نیز مقداری آزادی برای خود برگزیده است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 16/07/1400هجریخورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I love(d) this book and was torn between 4 and 5 stars. Can we call it 4.5? Heck, let's just say 5! I read it first long ago and it holds up well over the years (its and yours). A classic for a reason. You'll find synopsis after synopsis here and elsewhere. But if you like adventure, heroism, romance, loyalty, betrayal...any or all of the above you won't go wrong here. King Richard the Lion Heart...Robin Hood (Locksley)...Knights Templar...Saxons vs. Normans...Gentiles vs. Jews....Knights from the I love(d) this book and was torn between 4 and 5 stars. Can we call it 4.5? Heck, let's just say 5! I read it first long ago and it holds up well over the years (its and yours). A classic for a reason. You'll find synopsis after synopsis here and elsewhere. But if you like adventure, heroism, romance, loyalty, betrayal...any or all of the above you won't go wrong here. King Richard the Lion Heart...Robin Hood (Locksley)...Knights Templar...Saxons vs. Normans...Gentiles vs. Jews....Knights from the Crusades....Tournaments...jousts...melees...treachery...single combat...love...loss...reconciliation...heroics! This thing has more to offer than The Princess Bride! Well, no one gets murdered by pirates...and it is a "kissing book", but it's still a great read, and it's a classic so you get extra points! Okay, so my sense of humor got the best of me for a second there. While this book may not appeal to some, as it is definitely dated, it was written in 1819, and its syntax and construction aren't what modern readers will be used to, that won't bother most I'd think. I read this book first when I was 13 or 14. I stumbled across it in a grandparent's house one summer, and it captured my interest. The book is a historical fiction and an action adventure of it's day and while it may not move as today's action adventures do, there is so much more than that here. The depth of the prose blows away what we might call "action adventure" today. There is high adventure here that should please adventure lovers and the romantics among us. (When "Sir Desdichado" challenged the entire field at the joust I was hooked!) Yep, on second thought no question, 5 stars. This book is highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    In Ivanhoe, Scott skillfully undermines the alienating characteristics of the medieval gothic while taking advantage of its familiarity to and popularity with nineteenth-century audiences. Although containing elements reminiscent of the earlier gothic, such as the corruption and intrigue of religious orders, the madness of Ulrica and the burning alive of Front-de-Beouf in his castle, it also pokes fun at some of the wilder elements of this genre: the resurrected phantom of Athelstane, for instan In Ivanhoe, Scott skillfully undermines the alienating characteristics of the medieval gothic while taking advantage of its familiarity to and popularity with nineteenth-century audiences. Although containing elements reminiscent of the earlier gothic, such as the corruption and intrigue of religious orders, the madness of Ulrica and the burning alive of Front-de-Beouf in his castle, it also pokes fun at some of the wilder elements of this genre: the resurrected phantom of Athelstane, for instance, turns out to be quite alive and in search of a decent meal. Scott is clear in his rejection of supernatural devices, and rather than the scenes of emotional breakdown and overwhelming passion common in earlier gothics, his characters by and large behave with the rationality and self-control that would have been regarded as admirable by the author’s contemporaries. Throughout the story, Scott attempts to have his characters behave as modernly as they could without ahistoricism. By avoiding the distasteful areas of superstition, madness, and popery, Scott made it possible for nineteenth-century readers to sympathize more fully with the actors and to imagine themselves in the characters’ places without uneasiness or mental strain. Ivanhoe was presented, in the overtly fictional voice of the translator Templeton, as a medieval account rendered into modern language. Historical anachronisms are thus not authorial errors but deliberate attempts to make the text more accessible to contemporary readers. Scott constructed a debate between Templeton and the likewise-fictional antiquary, Dr Dryasdust, who accuses the translator of “polluting the well of history with modern inventions.” Scott replies, in the person of Templeton: “I may have confused the manners of two or three centuries… It is my comfort, that errors of this kind escape the general class of readers, and that I may share in the ill-deserved applause of those architects who, in their modern Gothic, do not hesitate to introduce, without rule or method, ornaments proper to different styles and to different periods of art.” Scott this warns his audience that Ivanhoe should not be read as an attempt to recreate, nor to modernize as Leland did (and as Scott had done when he wrote in Middle English a Continuation of the poem Sir Tristem, which was intended to be a believable imitation of the medieval text), a medieval romance. Although Scott was widely read in medieval romances and often alluded to them, he did not model Ivanhoe on a particular medieval tale and makes no attempt to imitate an authentic medieval style. Neither his language, his plotting, nor his ideology are, or were intended to be, genuinely medieval. The plot of Ivanhoe and other of Scott’s works likewise reveals less nostalgia than is often assumed. It is commonplace to state, as Alice Chandler does in her seminal work A Dream of Order: The Medieval Ideal in Nineteenth-Century English Literature, that Scott’s medievalism “brought to an increasingly urbanized, industrialized, and atomistic society, the vision of a more stable and harmonious social order, substituting the paternal benevolence of manor and guild for the harshness of city and factory and offering the clear air and open fields of the medieval past in place of the blackening skies of England.” While this was indeed a part of the appeal of Scott’s tales, it oversimplifies Scott’s complex attitudes toward the Middle Ages and ignores the conclusion with which several of his novels end. Scott was far from giving unreserved approval to the medieval past. Even in regards to his most sympathetic characters he offers points of criticism. In describing the heroic Richard, for example, he remarked on the “wild spirit of chivalry” which urged the king to risk unreasonable dangers. “In the lion-hearted king, the brilliant, but useless, character of a knight of romance was in a great measure realized and revived… his feats of chivalry furnishing themes for bards and minstrels, but affording none of those solid benefits to his country on which history loves to pause, and hold up as an example to posterity.” Scott goes so far as to imply that the sullen fidelity of the serf Gurth is more admirable than the reckless courage and self-pleasing and licentious chivalry of the royal Richard; freedom and honor rest for Scott on responsibility and loyalty to the social covenant, not on personal glory. Whereas in medieval tales the focus is almost always on individual heroism expressed through valor and strength of arms, these qualities play a large but ultimately superficial role in Ivanhoe. In the final anticlimactic duel at Rebecca’s trial, for example, Ivanhoe does not defeat the tempestuous villain by skill; in fact, the other characters all agree that Bois-Guilbert would certainly have won the contest were he not so conflicted in his feelings for Rebecca that he collapses on the field without being struck by his opponent. Beneath the exciting trappings of jousts, abductions, and political intrigues, the central motivating tension of Ivanhoe rests on the disruption of familial relationships and the struggle to restore those relationships to their proper order. Even the political struggle between King Richard and Prince John is a fraternal conflict; and Richard recognizes that his royal duties include reconciling Ivanhoe with his father. This reconciliation is, in fact, his most important success: insofar as Scott suggests that Richard is a good king, it is because he unites England in loyalty to his person as he unites the disrupted families he encounters on his adventures. The emphasis on familial order gives a different role to women than would be found in a genuinely medieval tale. In medieval chivalric romances concerning male competition the female figures occur secondarily, as lesser prizes to be won in addition to glory or honor. The nineteenth-century ideal of domestic harmony, and its association with political order, gave women a more important role than did medieval political ideology. In the jousts and duels of Ivanhoe, Rowena is the primary object of the struggle between the main character and his opponent. Rowena’s genealogical importance to legitimate Saxon claims of rule is emphasized by Cedric, but in the end she encourages Saxon assimilation rather than independence by marrying Ivanhoe, who has cast his lot with Richard. Her rejection of Athelstane signals the end of Cedric’s plan for renewed Saxon dominance, a plan which Scott marks as backward-looking and unrealistic, if understandable. If Scott in fact advocates a medieval revival, it is not of the feudal system or of Anglo-Saxonism, but of what he understood as medieval virtues: self-sacrifice, emotion rather than sentimentality, loyalty not only to one’s leaders but also to one’s followers. These attributes were based on an integrated system of personal relationships: between members of a clan or family, between lords and vassals or serfs, between subjects and ruler. Scott depicts these relationships as essentially personal and familial, rather than abstract and national or bureaucratic, which they were rapidly becoming in his own lifetime.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    "Glory?" continued Rebecca; "alas, is the rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the champion's dim and mouldering tomb – is the defaced sculpture of the inscription which the ignorant monk can hardly read to the enquiring pilgrim – are these sufficient rewards for the sacrifice of every kindly affection, for a life spent miserably that ye may make others miserable? Or is there such virtue in the rude rhymes of a wandering bard, that domestic love, kindly affection, peace and happiness, "Glory?" continued Rebecca; "alas, is the rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the champion's dim and mouldering tomb – is the defaced sculpture of the inscription which the ignorant monk can hardly read to the enquiring pilgrim – are these sufficient rewards for the sacrifice of every kindly affection, for a life spent miserably that ye may make others miserable? Or is there such virtue in the rude rhymes of a wandering bard, that domestic love, kindly affection, peace and happiness, are so wildly bartered, to become the hero of those ballads which vagabond minstrels sing to drunken churls over their evening ale?"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    It is hard to know what to say about Ivanhoe. It is part Robin Hood style adventure, part history and full of thematic richness. I was surprised that Ivanhoe himself figures into this tale somewhat sporadically. There are many characters who receive more in depth development, and the Jewess Rebecca is more fully developed than the heroine, Rowena. The attitudes toward Jews in the novel make one uncomfortable in the same way that you feel when reading The Merchant of Venice. It is obvious that Sc It is hard to know what to say about Ivanhoe. It is part Robin Hood style adventure, part history and full of thematic richness. I was surprised that Ivanhoe himself figures into this tale somewhat sporadically. There are many characters who receive more in depth development, and the Jewess Rebecca is more fully developed than the heroine, Rowena. The attitudes toward Jews in the novel make one uncomfortable in the same way that you feel when reading The Merchant of Venice. It is obvious that Scott himself does not sanction this view of Jews, but even the characters who admire and are helped by Rebecca make comments regarding being defiled by her presence or touch. I constantly had to attempt to put myself into the time in question and remind myself that this is history and to have written it any other way would have been false. It is easy to see why Sir Walter Scott was a popular writer in his time and has survived. The story is fun, in the same way tales of King Arthur and his Knights are. The descriptions of the lists and tournaments are vivid portrayals. There are plot surprises, there is laughter, particularly in the forms of a jester and a Thane, and there is familiarity in the characters that we have seen time and again from this era, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the evil King John.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    I have decided to put down this book and not finish it 2/3 of the way in, the reason being that while it was interesting to read about the old times of knights, tournaments and great battles at castles, it wasn't in any way interesting enough for me to keep on reading. I feel like being this far in, I've already gotten out of the story what I possibly could, and I don't really care about how everything's going to end. Funnily enough, I was originally under the impression that this was going to b I have decided to put down this book and not finish it 2/3 of the way in, the reason being that while it was interesting to read about the old times of knights, tournaments and great battles at castles, it wasn't in any way interesting enough for me to keep on reading. I feel like being this far in, I've already gotten out of the story what I possibly could, and I don't really care about how everything's going to end. Funnily enough, I was originally under the impression that this was going to be a children' story written in a somewhat easily accessible language. Turned out I was completely wrong. It's a classic story for adults written in a rather dense 1820s-language. Maybe my disappointment is part of the reason why I don't really feel like finishing it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Note, March 17, 2014: I posted this review some time ago, but just finished tweaking the language in one sentence to clarify a thought. Obviously, this novel won't be every reader's cup of tea: the author's 19th-century diction will be too much of a hurdle for some, those who define novels of action and adventure as shallow will consider it beneath them, and those who want non- stop action will be bored by Scott's serious effort to depict the life and culture of his medieval setting. But those wh Note, March 17, 2014: I posted this review some time ago, but just finished tweaking the language in one sentence to clarify a thought. Obviously, this novel won't be every reader's cup of tea: the author's 19th-century diction will be too much of a hurdle for some, those who define novels of action and adventure as shallow will consider it beneath them, and those who want non- stop action will be bored by Scott's serious effort to depict the life and culture of his medieval setting. But those who appreciate adventure and romance in a well-realized setting, and aren't put off by big words and involved syntax, will find this a genuinely rewarding read. Ivanhoe is a quintessentially Romantic novel, and that school stressed appeal to the reader's emotions rather than, or at least more so than, their intellects. But this does not mean it's devoid of a philosophical or moral point of view. Novels of action and combat appeal to emotions of fear and excitement, etc., but at their best, they often presuppose a code of conduct between humans that differentiates between good and evil, and cast the conflict in the story in those terms, with the writer on the side of good; and the various characters may model genuine virtues. This is definitely the case here. And the (small-r) romantic aspect of the plot in this book is not a simple tale of "boy falls for girl," either; the above description identifies Rowena as Ivanhoe's "true love," but in fact he comes to have very definite romantic feelings toward Rebecca as well, and the question of how how this triangle will be resolved contributes to the story's interest. Rebecca's character also brings an added depth to the novel --she's a strong, courageous lady who excels in a male-dominated profession in the midst of a sexist society (and the 19th-century culture of Scott's readers was scarcely less sexist than Rebecca's medieval world). Scott's treatment of her, as a Jewish character, also exemplifies genuine tolerance (in a much different sense than the inverted one popularized today, in which we simply proclaim ourselves as apostles of "tolerance," but then hate and anathematize anyone who disagrees with us, because their different beliefs identify them as "intolerant"); as an Anglican, he has honest differences with her religious beliefs, but he can enthusiastically affirm her as a person anyway, and, as an author, allow her to remain true to her own beliefs. So, there's a lot here for the discerning reader to appreciate!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Hearken,” he (Brian de Bois-Guilbert) said, “Rebecca; I have hitherto spoken mildly to thee, but now my language shall be that of a conqueror. Thou art the captive of my bow and spear—subject to my will by the laws of all nations; nor will I abate an inch of my right, or abstain from taking by violence what thou refusest to entreaty or necessity.” “Stand back,” said Rebecca—“which portion of “no” dost thou not comprehend? Kindly desist from thou crapulous Trumpery posthaste!” Some of the above qu “Hearken,” he (Brian de Bois-Guilbert) said, “Rebecca; I have hitherto spoken mildly to thee, but now my language shall be that of a conqueror. Thou art the captive of my bow and spear—subject to my will by the laws of all nations; nor will I abate an inch of my right, or abstain from taking by violence what thou refusest to entreaty or necessity.” “Stand back,” said Rebecca—“which portion of “no” dost thou not comprehend? Kindly desist from thou crapulous Trumpery posthaste!” Some of the above quotes hath indeed been tampered with from Sir Walter Scott’s original text. Apologies to all purists. Honestly, I cannot stand that longwinded de Bois-Guilbert. What a silly bunt (as Eric Idle would say). Brian de Bois-Guilbert and poor Rebecca Took me one month+19 days to read this (audio) book. I would have read it faster if it had been more compelling. but Ivanhoe is not an easy book to read, the olde English dialogue takes getting used to, and while some of it is quite entertaining it often drags, especially when that damned de Bois-Guilbert is delivering his interminable gabble. It is hard to summarize what the novel is about as it is so fragmented. Set in the 12th century the novel (sort of) follows Wilfred Ivanhoe as he returns from the Holy Land after the Third Crusade has ended. He soon entered a jousting tournament and jousted the asses off the other competitors. Ivanhoe wins the tournament but is gravely injured after his foes ganged up on him; fortunately, a mysterious Black Knight shows up to aid him. He is then taken to Rebecca the Jewess. Ivanhoe, his Dad, Rebecca, and others are soon kidnapped by dastardly Norman Maurice de Bracy, a friend of the verbal diarrhea afflicted de Bois-Guilbert. They are taken to Torquilstone, the castle of Front-de-Boeuf (another antagonist). The Black Knight soon comes to the rescue with the help of the sharp shootin’ Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and many other hipster outlaw types. Many more events follow and await your discovery. The Black Knight (though he retains both arms in this book) OK, now I am going to get medieval on this book. Actually, on reflection, I quite like Ivanhoe, though I was often frustrated when it grinds to a halt (shut up, de Bois-Guilbert!). By the end, I felt it definitely outstayed its welcome. I am surprised we don’t see that much of the eponymous hero, he does not show up until page 50 or so, after his jousting injuries he disappears from the narrative for many pages, only to become active again towards the end. His climactic battle with that damn de Bois-Guilbert is a disappointment and very WTF. Wilfred Sir Walter Scott's prose is a thing pf beauty and I even like the olde English once I got used to it. The story, while fragmented, is good, and not hard to follow. My only complaint is that for a “Romance” (as in “a medieval tale dealing with a hero of chivalry”, not a story of smooches and heartbreaks) it is not very thrilling. Sir Walter does write very good fight scenes but those are too few and far between to effectively liven up the narrative. There is just too much dialogue and that damn de Bois-Guilbert just goes on and on and on, repeating himself in his attempt to get into poor Rebecca’s pants. Apart from him, the characterization is generally very good, I particularly like Wamba the jester, and Robin Hood, especially when he is showing off. The humorous bits work for me but, again, there is too little of them. I can’t really recommend Ivanhoe, personally, I will stick to Alexandre Dumas for medieval badassery. Notes: • The Normans and the Saxons have an acrimonious relationship but they agree on one thing, their disdain for the Jews. The most put upon characters in the book. • Richard the Lionheart really lives up to his name, and seems to enjoy ass kicking more than ruling the land. • Audiobook from Librivox, read by various readers, some are pretty good, some are not so good but bearable. Whatchoo want for free, eh? Quotes: “I pray thee, uncle,” answered the Jester, “let my folly, for once, protect my roguery. I did but make a mistake between my right hand and my left; and he might have pardoned a greater, who took a fool for his counsellor and guide.” Wamba is the best! “And now,” said Locksley, “I will crave your Grace’s permission to plant such a mark as is used in the North Country; and welcome every brave yeoman who shall try a shot at it to win a smile from the bonny lass he loves best.” “Formed in the best proportions of her sex, Rowena was tall in stature, yet not so much so as to attract observation on account of superior height. Her complexion was exquisitely fair, but the noble cast of her head and features prevented the insipidity which sometimes attaches to fair beauties. Her clear blue eye, which sat enshrined beneath a graceful eyebrow of brown sufficiently marked to give expression to the forehead, seemed capable to kindle as well as melt, to command as well as to beseech.” (etc.) That is the most elaborate description of a woman I have ever seen. “To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of foreign tyrants.” Here is a de Bois-Guilbert special: “No, damsel!” said the proud Templar, springing up, “thou shalt not thus impose on me—if I renounce present fame and future ambition, I renounce it for thy sake, and we will escape in company. Listen to me, Rebecca,” he said, again softening his tone; “England,—Europe,—is not the world. There are spheres in which we may act, ample enough even for my ambition. We will go to Palestine, where Conrade, Marquis of Montserrat, is my friend—a friend free as myself from the doting scruples which fetter our free-born reason—rather with Saladin will we league ourselves, than endure the scorn of the bigots whom we contemn.—I will form new paths to greatness,” he continued, again traversing the room with hasty strides—“Europe shall hear the loud step of him she has driven from her sons!—Not the millions whom her crusaders send to slaughter, can do so much to defend Palestine—not the sabres of the thousands and ten thousands of Saracens can hew their way so deep into that land for which nations are striving, as the strength and policy of me and those brethren, who, in despite of yonder old bigot, will adhere to me in good and evil. Thou shalt be a queen, Rebecca—on Mount Carmel shall we pitch the throne which my valour will gain for you, and I will exchange my long-desired batoon for a sceptre!” STFU!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Sometimes I'm in the middle of complaining to Joanne that some book, which I told Joanne before I started was probably going to be boring and stupid, is indeed boring and stupid, and I plan to complain about it being boring and stupid for the next week because it's also long, and Joanne says silly things like "Why would you even start a book that you think will be boring and stupid?" Ivanhoe is why! Sometimes I'm wrong. I thought Ivanhoe would be boring and stupid, but it's a blast. Flesh Wounds H Sometimes I'm in the middle of complaining to Joanne that some book, which I told Joanne before I started was probably going to be boring and stupid, is indeed boring and stupid, and I plan to complain about it being boring and stupid for the next week because it's also long, and Joanne says silly things like "Why would you even start a book that you think will be boring and stupid?" Ivanhoe is why! Sometimes I'm wrong. I thought Ivanhoe would be boring and stupid, but it's a blast. Flesh Wounds Here's the test for whether you'll like it: have you ever liked any story - even just one story - with a knight in it? If you're not totally immune to knights clanking about flinging gauntlets at each other, you should like Ivanhoe. It's the apotheosis of knight-bashing. There are: - damsels in distress, and a terrific response by one of them; - a great scheming old crone in a tower; - a wicked prince; - a thrilling castle siege (and note: those are usually not thrilling, it's just super hard to write large-scale battle scenes that work, but here you go!); - mystery knights in black; - a lusty brawling priest; - even an outlaw bowman dressed in green. (Is his identity supposed to be a secret? Because it's not, neither is the Black Knight's.) If none of those things sound fun to you....well, we can still read Mansfield Park together. Apologetic Anti-Semitism The one thing I should mention that doesn't sit perfectly with me is (sigh, here we go again) Isaac the Jew. And look, Scott's major point, which he makes again and again, is how awful bigotry towards Jews is. "Except the flying fish," he says, "there was no race existing on the earth, in the air, or the waters, who were the object of such an intermitting, general, and relentless persecution as the Jews," and you're like yeah! Good point! But then he follows that with "The obstinacy and avarice of the Jews...seemed to increase in proportion to the persecution with which they were visited," and you're like waaaaaiiiit a minute here chief. It's a sortof apologetic anti-Semitism that you run into sometimes with 1800s writers: "There was no angle left to them but to become money-lenders," they seem to say, "So of course they became greedy and wicked as well." Harriet Beecher Stowe has similar ideas about Black people in Uncle Tom's Cabin. I think they're trying, but it doesn't age well. Walter Scott in Context Scott is sometimes called the inventor of historical fiction. He's also sometimes called shitty; EM Forster says that "To make things happen one after another is his only serious aim." Scott can't do characters; he can't even do plots. He just presents a series of scenes. "He has the power to present the outside of a character and to work from the outside to the inside," says Pritchett. "But once inside, he discovers only what is generic." But then there's David Lodge calling Scott "the single Shakespearean talent of the English novel." All of these things are hyperbole. It's true that characterization is not Scott's strong point - lot of archetypes here - but everyone's entertaining and memorable enough; it's okay not to be a psychologist. Scott's super fun to read, and that's great. ...and in Central Park For some reason Central Park has a statue of him, which I went to visit as I read Ivanhoe. Here it is: Over on the other side - in shade, so the pic I took from that side doesn't show it at all - is his dog. He looks like a nice guy, doesn't he? I like him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luís

    Ivanhoe! Ivanhoe! When these credits sounded in the 1960s, we children were eager to be in front of our black and white screens to follow his adventures where this handsome knight on his white horse came to the underprivileged aid. I have found several heroes who rocked my childhood, Ivanhoe and Robin de Locksley, known as Robin Hood, King Richard the lionheart and the evil Prince John. Ivanhoé played by a great actor who has now disappeared Roger Moore (born in 1927 in England and died in 2017 in Ivanhoe! Ivanhoe! When these credits sounded in the 1960s, we children were eager to be in front of our black and white screens to follow his adventures where this handsome knight on his white horse came to the underprivileged aid. I have found several heroes who rocked my childhood, Ivanhoe and Robin de Locksley, known as Robin Hood, King Richard the lionheart and the evil Prince John. Ivanhoé played by a great actor who has now disappeared Roger Moore (born in 1927 in England and died in 2017 in Switzerland). With this bit of note, I pay him a warm tribute for all these hours of true happiness, especially the adventures he made me live in my childhood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, is set in England during the reign of King Richard , who is away on the Crusades to the Holy Land , leaving the administration of the country to his scheming brother , John , and his corrupt court cronies like Waldemar Fitzurse , Malvoisin and Front-de-Bouef. Meanwhile a mysterious Disinherited Knight, aided by another anonymous Knight in black amour (Le Noir Fainéant) defeats all of King John's favorite knights at the jousting tournament at Ashby. The challenger is reveal Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, is set in England during the reign of King Richard , who is away on the Crusades to the Holy Land , leaving the administration of the country to his scheming brother , John , and his corrupt court cronies like Waldemar Fitzurse , Malvoisin and Front-de-Bouef. Meanwhile a mysterious Disinherited Knight, aided by another anonymous Knight in black amour (Le Noir Fainéant) defeats all of King John's favorite knights at the jousting tournament at Ashby. The challenger is revealed as Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the disinherited son of the Saxon nobleman, Cedric, who is the beloved of his father's charge, the comely Rowena. The character who was for me, the most interesting, was the beautiful `black eyed' Jewish beauty, Rebecca, the daughter of the merchant Isaac of York. Compassionate and yet fiery, humble yet proud, sensual and yet modest, it is not hard to understand the passion for her felt by the Knight Templar, Brian De-Bois Gilbert. She and her father must try to survive in a violently anti-Semitic society, in which they are rendered defenseless, as members of a humbled nation. Rebecca, faced with a horrific fate, refuses to renounce her faith, right until the end. Rebecca thus says during her trial by the order of Knights Templars: " ` To invoke your pity' said the lovely Jewess, with a voice tremulous with emotion `would I am be aware, , be as useless as I should hold it mean...Nor will I even vindicate myself at the expense of the oppressor which seem to convert the tyrant into the victim." So you see how timeless words of wisdom can be. Also thrown into the book are Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the witty Jester Wamba . A quotable quote from Wamba from Wamba is " To restrain them by their sense of humanity is the same as to stop a runaway horse with a bridle of silk thread. The book is a pleasure to read. As Herbert Strang wrote in an early 20th century edition of Ivanhoe: "In introducing this great story to a new generation of boys and girls, I find myself wishing that I too, where about to read Ivanhoe for the first time" After having read Ivanhoe , I can understand exactly why he wrote that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Ivanhoe. Seriously?! Could there be a more arbitrary title to any famous book in the English language? It would be like naming Lost "Benjamin Linus," or naming the original Dragonlance Chronicles "Caramon Majere." This isn't a book about Ivanhoe, it's a book with Ivanhoe in it. Sir Walter Scott must have been sitting around his room with his D&D dice to come up with Ivanhoe. Random Title List for Unnamed Book I Just Finished Writing About King Richard's Return From the Crusades and the Defeat of Ivanhoe. Seriously?! Could there be a more arbitrary title to any famous book in the English language? It would be like naming Lost "Benjamin Linus," or naming the original Dragonlance Chronicles "Caramon Majere." This isn't a book about Ivanhoe, it's a book with Ivanhoe in it. Sir Walter Scott must have been sitting around his room with his D&D dice to come up with Ivanhoe. Random Title List for Unnamed Book I Just Finished Writing About King Richard's Return From the Crusades and the Defeat of His Slightly Crazy Brother Prince John Roll 1d20 1. Lady Rowena 2. Brian de Bois-Guilbert 3. Front de Boeuf 4. Friar Tuck 5. Isaac the Jew 6. The Black Knight 7. Cedric 8. Ivanhoe 9. Richard Coeur-de-Lion 10. Prince John 11. Athelstane 12. Wamba 13. Rebecca 14. Albert Malvoisin 15. Waldemar Fitzurse 16. Gurth 17. Maurice de Bracy 18. Locksley 19. Ulrica 20. Me And by the way...I liked it. It was fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    That was...a painful reading experience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Oh, this was very good. I'd read that Woolf loved Scott, and when I told an academic mentor that I was going to read it, she exclaimed, "I had SUCH a crush on Ivanhoe! I'll lend you my copy!" I went into it with high expectations and it delivered. Yes, it's full of lengthy description, but there is action and adventure, romance and politics, and is generally a thrill. I had to skim it, and ended up breezing through a lot of Scott's descriptions of clothing or setting, but as Allan Massie wrote i Oh, this was very good. I'd read that Woolf loved Scott, and when I told an academic mentor that I was going to read it, she exclaimed, "I had SUCH a crush on Ivanhoe! I'll lend you my copy!" I went into it with high expectations and it delivered. Yes, it's full of lengthy description, but there is action and adventure, romance and politics, and is generally a thrill. I had to skim it, and ended up breezing through a lot of Scott's descriptions of clothing or setting, but as Allan Massie wrote in The Telegraph, "Scott wrote fast and often carelessly, and he should be read in the same way. He is a novelist for greedy readers, not for dainty ones."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    One of my favorite novels in junior high. This began a life long affection for the work of Sir Walter Scott, even those whose language was difficult to read. I found the rewards to be worth the effort. Ivanhoe is one of Scott's best known and best loved works. Movies, TV programs, radio, etc have often been based on this novel of adventure and romance. There was even an anachronistic 1960's British TV series starring Roger Moore, the future Saint and James Bond. It is currently available on Amaz One of my favorite novels in junior high. This began a life long affection for the work of Sir Walter Scott, even those whose language was difficult to read. I found the rewards to be worth the effort. Ivanhoe is one of Scott's best known and best loved works. Movies, TV programs, radio, etc have often been based on this novel of adventure and romance. There was even an anachronistic 1960's British TV series starring Roger Moore, the future Saint and James Bond. It is currently available on Amazon and free with Amazon Prime.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Anthony

    Set in the reign of Richard I; the Lionheart being on crusade much of the time, leaving England to the mercy (no chance!) of his brother, the odious Prince John and some rather nasty Norman barons. I found it quite a page turner. Of particular interest to me was Scott's portrayal of relations between the subjugated and resentful English and their Norman conquerors. English = liberty, Norman = tyranny. The position of the Jews in England is fascinating too and two of them have an important part in Set in the reign of Richard I; the Lionheart being on crusade much of the time, leaving England to the mercy (no chance!) of his brother, the odious Prince John and some rather nasty Norman barons. I found it quite a page turner. Of particular interest to me was Scott's portrayal of relations between the subjugated and resentful English and their Norman conquerors. English = liberty, Norman = tyranny. The position of the Jews in England is fascinating too and two of them have an important part in the story. Regarded as less than animals on one level; on the other hand they were the bankers and so we couldn't do without them. Lots of fighting here and the art of chivalry. Ivanhoe the English knight takes on a few Normans, we meet Robin Hood and his fellow bandit Friar Tuck. The latter compares favourably with the princes of the church in England. Richard puts in the odd appearance at crucial points. (Scott is balanced in his assessment of him. R's heart was in the right place but he neglected his country). Lurv figures in it too of course. I enjoyed reading it and want to read more on this period of history.

  18. 4 out of 5

    April

    I can see now, after having read Ivanhoe, where most of our notions of the medieval ways and of Robin Hood originated. It seemed at once both familiar and foreign jumping into this book. I could see the beginnings of certain conventions — and the glaring lack, as well. It reminded me both of the Canterbury tales and of old Hollywood movies; it was actually kind of weird. It begins with two minor characters, for instance, and not the main character, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is actually introduced somewhat I can see now, after having read Ivanhoe, where most of our notions of the medieval ways and of Robin Hood originated. It seemed at once both familiar and foreign jumping into this book. I could see the beginnings of certain conventions — and the glaring lack, as well. It reminded me both of the Canterbury tales and of old Hollywood movies; it was actually kind of weird. It begins with two minor characters, for instance, and not the main character, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is actually introduced somewhat late, and he's mostly incognito in his first appearance, so you're kind of thrown into the story with little or no ties to anyone in particular. It's hard to care about the characters or the story that way, so I didn't have much emotion invested into the story and got easily bored. After a few chapters, I found myself watching the 1952 movie adaptation to get me jump started, the one starring Robert Taylor, which, notably, didn't start with the minor characters at all but started with Ivanhoe's back story, him coming back from the crusades, on a mission to raise enough money to free King Richard. This is what the book lacked in the beginning. It lacked that motor, that thing that gives readers a reason to read through all the descriptive chapters in which nothing really happens just yet. As a result, the book seems a bit aimless and happenstance, and it's hard to figure out who to even care for, until you get deeper into the book and discover some of the whys and wherefores of the situations. For instance, Ivanhoe and Rowena are childhood sweethearts, and you're supposed to root for them as a couple, but they are apart for most of the book, and you barely see them express their love for each other. There is, in fact, very little that happens in the span of the book that would lead anyone to think that Ivanhoe is better off with Rowena than with any other woman. And there IS another woman, Rebecca, in the book who through her actions seems a more deserving character than Rowena. There's another man as well, for Rowena, but the point is Rebecca is the one the reader would rather root for to win the heart of Ivanhoe. Rebecca actually, genuinely cares for Ivanhoe, not just in an emotional sense, partly out of gratitude for Ivanhoe's kind treatment of her father, but in a medical sense, when Ivanhoe gets mortally wounded in a tournament. She's the one who looks after him and with her exceptional healing skills helps him to get better. She's the one who generously funds him, too, using the jewelry she has inherited from her mother. Not only that, but when Rebecca needs saving, it's Ivanhoe alone who saves her. So Rebecca seems a more likely heroine than Rowena — at least in my eyes. The story revolves more around her than around Rowena. But Rebecca is Jewish, and I guess that and the fact that Ivanhoe and Rowena were childhood sweethearts, make any relationship between Ivanhoe and Rebecca impossible. The way the book is written, it absolutely makes no sense to a modern reader of romance. If there was more interaction between Ivanhoe and Rowena, or if more of their back story was revealed, then I think it would have made more sense and been more gratifying to have them come together in the end; as it was, you have only the author's word that Ivanhoe and Rowena were already an item before any of the events in the book happened. So for me, that romance story arc needed more of the usual conventions to make it work. The action-adventure story, similarly, needed more of the usual conventions, or at least a proper back story to give it more reason to exist. I couldn't figure out, for instance, why Ivanhoe needed to enter the tournament at all. In the movie version, it was because he needed the prize money for King Richard's ransom, but the reason in the book is actually not that clear, and the tournament turns out to be a very big part of the story. The later two parts of the action-adventure makes a little more sense; there seems to be a clear mission, rescue the hostages from within the castle, and later, save Rebecca from a death sentence by being her champion and winning a fight. So I could more easily accept the plotting in those areas. The first third, though, seemed a bit senseless to me. The language seems appropriate for the time, yet easy enough to read. The characters were nicely drawn, and some of them were actually very engaging. For a main character, though, Ivanhoe appeared only partly drawn — the other characters were better developed and more likable than he was. Also, as he was injured for much of the book, he was absent from a lot of the action and so seemed more like a prop than a main character. Nutshell ... I can see why some people might laud this book, if it was one of the first of its kind, but at the same time it was kind of baffling and boring by the standards of today. I imagine books in this genre have come a long, long, LONG way since this first came out, and if this book were rewritten today, it would be a very, very different book indeed. I wasn't wowed, but it wasn't TOO bad. Finished reading March 25, 2011.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    This is a novel that, as I understand it, almost single-handedly revived the popularity of medieval chivalry and heroism in 19th century literature . . . and life. The culture of the American South profoundly admired Scott's world view. Stories like Ivanhoe were spiritual fuel to their sense of honor and privilege. Also, with Scott, a major branch of literature was consolidated which in his time was beginning to be distinguished by the intelligentsia from "serious literature." His literary heirs This is a novel that, as I understand it, almost single-handedly revived the popularity of medieval chivalry and heroism in 19th century literature . . . and life. The culture of the American South profoundly admired Scott's world view. Stories like Ivanhoe were spiritual fuel to their sense of honor and privilege. Also, with Scott, a major branch of literature was consolidated which in his time was beginning to be distinguished by the intelligentsia from "serious literature." His literary heirs are James Fenimore Cooper, Alexander Dumas pere, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Jane Austen headed up the other major branch which included George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. This is of course a grossly simplified classification, but for some purposes a useful one which both Scott and Austen recognized. I call Scott's branch "romantic," and Austen's branch, "realistic" and/or "naturalistic." Ivanhoe is top-notch romantic adventure. Just get past the first couple of chapters and you'll be hooked.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    3.5 stars? Give or take. This was my DWS birthday book selection, Sir Walter Scott being an August baby. I went into it knowing that it was about knights and chivalry, but there is much more to it. First things first: there is a TON of anti-Semitism. Scott portrays his Jewish characters very schizophrenically, alternating between sympathizing with them and depicting them stereotypically as grasping and money loving. There are scenes directly equivalent to The Merchant of Venice with Isaac of York 3.5 stars? Give or take. This was my DWS birthday book selection, Sir Walter Scott being an August baby. I went into it knowing that it was about knights and chivalry, but there is much more to it. First things first: there is a TON of anti-Semitism. Scott portrays his Jewish characters very schizophrenically, alternating between sympathizing with them and depicting them stereotypically as grasping and money loving. There are scenes directly equivalent to The Merchant of Venice with Isaac of York trying to decide between his daughter and his money. Rebecca is depicted as virtuous, skilled, and possessed of wisdom, while her beauty makes her the desire of lecherous men. Still, she does not receive the affection that she desires from a particular English knight. That two centuries later we still have people who hate Jews and Muslims beggars belief. I think the reason for this novel's longevity is Scott's incorporation of the elements of the Robin Hood tale. Once I realized that Richard the Lion Hearted and Prince John were involved, I hied me off to Wikipedia to learn more. Sure enough, it was Scott who consolidated the details of earlier legends into the storyline we all are familiar with today. The Merry Men, dressed in green, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, Friar Tuck, Allan-a-Dale, feats of marksmanship, opposition to Prince John—he melds it all together into a unified story that seems to have grabbed our imaginations. The part that we have let go of is the Saxon-Norman rivalry which Scott layers into the mix. I'm sure that such discords existed at some point in history, but Scott was apparently trying to make a point about such prejudices to his contemporaries. Nowadays it doesn't hurt the story, but it doesn't really help it much either. The writing is florid by today's standards, but still very readable. There are some odd sentence constructions and word spellings, but for a book that is over 200 years old, it is still entertaining. There are bits that are predictable to the modern reader, especially those familiar with the Robin Hood story, but it would have been new and exciting when it was first published. I've been nervous of Scott's writing until now, but I have the courage to try more of his work after enjoying this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paula W

    Although it took me quite a while to get used to the language and sentence structure, I really enjoyed this one. Ivanhoe is part adventure, part historical fiction, part romance, and all fun. I can't help but wonder why the book is called Ivanhoe, though. The title character is certainly not the main character, nor even one of the better written characters. As a matter of fact, most of the characters didn't appear to be all that complex or interesting. I vote we re-name this book Rebecca. Because Although it took me quite a while to get used to the language and sentence structure, I really enjoyed this one. Ivanhoe is part adventure, part historical fiction, part romance, and all fun. I can't help but wonder why the book is called Ivanhoe, though. The title character is certainly not the main character, nor even one of the better written characters. As a matter of fact, most of the characters didn't appear to be all that complex or interesting. I vote we re-name this book Rebecca. Because that woman is EVERYTHING.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lee (the Book Butcher)

    Put down "lame of thrones" and pick up a true epic. ok, that was a little strong this book is not for everyone and hard for modern audiences to appreciate. once Considered one of the greatest novels ever printed in English. It's influence on the culture of the English speaking world is monumental. I might be true that the influences might have surpassed the masterwork in entertainment. Lord of the rings, Robin Hood, Princess Bride I could go on. Robin Hood for one is very popular in modern ente Put down "lame of thrones" and pick up a true epic. ok, that was a little strong this book is not for everyone and hard for modern audiences to appreciate. once Considered one of the greatest novels ever printed in English. It's influence on the culture of the English speaking world is monumental. I might be true that the influences might have surpassed the masterwork in entertainment. Lord of the rings, Robin Hood, Princess Bride I could go on. Robin Hood for one is very popular in modern entertainment. you mention Robin Hood people get excited, mention Ivanhoe most people make a face. Princess Bride is a very beloved adaptation or at least in style. a Heroic Epic that includes Romance, Chivalry, Racism, sexism, cultural approbation, and intertwining of different cultures. I believe it has something for everyone a truly complete book. the Saxons vs. Normans dynamic might be obsolete with little genetic relatives today. but it reflect a common dynamic that has been played out by cultures all over the world. the pride of the Saxons is visceral and relatable. the fact that Walter Scott is bias to the Saxons is a bit of a turn off. he skews the historical facts a bit. the pacing is also dated and not what we have become accustom to in action adventure. but it's folly to me to call it boring. the worldbuilding is superb you really can experience medieval England. your emersion into that world is critical to enjoyment. if you have trouble with historical emersion stay clear. this is a classic which bring reading challenges but is fantastic if you approach it the right way. not sure why this book as lost it's critical shine. maybe we think we have learn all the social lesson we can from it. maybe those influenced by it surpassed it. maybe a little to historical fantastic regarded as historically accurate. maybe it's boring. all I know is Ivanhoe is the best book I read in 2019!

  23. 4 out of 5

    El

    Good gravy, I've had Ivanhoe on my literary back burner for longer than I can remember. I love a romping good adventure story, but when I say that I mean things like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again, The Odyssey or The Princess Bride. I like my adventure stories to have... adventure. I expected adventure in Ivanhoe since it often falls into the same category as a lot of other swashbuckling adventures, filled with exci Good gravy, I've had Ivanhoe on my literary back burner for longer than I can remember. I love a romping good adventure story, but when I say that I mean things like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again, The Odyssey or The Princess Bride. I like my adventure stories to have... adventure. I expected adventure in Ivanhoe since it often falls into the same category as a lot of other swashbuckling adventures, filled with excitement. I think my copy was broken, because I didn't get much excitement out of it. It's not that it's a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. It's the grandpappy of historical fiction - published in 1819, the story actually takes place in the early twelfth century focusing on the whole Norman/Saxon brouhaha. Wilfred of Ivanhoe is shunned by his Saxon father for his dedication to the ENEMY: Couer de Lion, aka Richard the Lion-Heart, aka Richard I of England. And then there's a lot of stuff about politics and religion, which actually was pretty interesting, if a little unbelievable for the period in which the story was to take place. Likely that Ivanhoe would have had much opportunity to really hook up with the Jewish Rebecca? About as likely as Jack, a third-class passenger on a sinking ship, would hook up with high-class Rose in that dumb movie, Titanic. But at least the discussions of religion/class actually seemed to make a point in Ivanhoe. But there were lots of pages of talky-talk that seemed very unrealistic. Everyone in the twelfth century, according to Walter Scott, was pretty well-educated and awful liberal-minded. But it goes beyond that! There's a scene in which there is a fire, and I swear pages went by where people are talking about the fire, but no one is actually making any movement to leave. Maybe it was my imagination but that scene dragged on forever. And there's so much greenery in the twelfth century! Maybe as a 21st-century gal it's hard to imagine so much greenery, but this went beyond the woods and the hills and the dales. Everyone wore green, there was green hanging everywhere. Green, apparently, was the new black in 1194. Pages and pages of discussion about the size of the tables, the wood the tables were made of, what was on the tables, what the people sitting at the tables looked like, why some people weren't at the table... it never seemed to end. But people really seem to love this story, so who am I to discourage anyone else from reading it? There were some good things about this as well, like an appearance of Robin Hood. A lot of what we believe about Robin Hood actually can be traced back to Ivanhoe, so that's pretty cool. Still I consider Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood a much better adventure story than Ivanhoe, but that's probably beside the point. I am glad to have read this, even though I learned in the Afterword that not only was Scott's writing sloppily anachronistic, but he also wrote the story to try to make some big bucks. For some reason that sort of rubbed me the wrong way, though certainly he's not the first nor the last writer to be in the writing game just for the Benjamins. I'm mostly just relieved to be able to cross this off my list. WARNING: As with any work of historical fiction, take the story with a grain of salt. I want someone to bring the Trysting tree back into popularity. There's something pretty neat-o about meeting under a tree to discuss really important things.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    Yes, I know I just listened to this book. But I figure if Harriet Beecher Stowe could read Ivanhoe seven times in one month, then I can reread it right away. Am enjoying it immensely - again! ========= I'm reading this for my book club (the adult equivalent of a high school reading assignment when it is for a book you've managed to avoid for years). Consequently I listened to B.J. Harrison's excellent narration to help me get into the book. And it worked. I initially enjoyed it it on the level of Yes, I know I just listened to this book. But I figure if Harriet Beecher Stowe could read Ivanhoe seven times in one month, then I can reread it right away. Am enjoying it immensely - again! ========= I'm reading this for my book club (the adult equivalent of a high school reading assignment when it is for a book you've managed to avoid for years). Consequently I listened to B.J. Harrison's excellent narration to help me get into the book. And it worked. I initially enjoyed it it on the level of adventure novel, a la Treasure Island (the adventure novel I listened to just before this). I was surprised at the inventive plot twists, the laugh-out-loud humor, and most of all at Rebecca. Here is someone who is female, from a despised group, and who is only valued by most for her beauty. Yet, she is articulate, quick witted, and will not allow herself to be used as a pawn or allow others to get away with facile explanations for their own evil actions. What a role model! Overall, Ivanhoe was a reminder not to avoid a classic just because the first chapter seems a little difficult or because one thinks the plot is hackneyed. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Randyn

    normally I don't like it when protagonists in books are anachronistically liberal and unprejudiced, but I would have made an exception for this story. In fact, I remember as a kid creating elaborate scenarios in my head where Ivanhoe runs off with the Jewish Rebecca instead of staying with the English Rowena. In fact, reading it this time around, I almost found myself liking the villain Brian du Bois-Guillbert. He might have been evil, but at least he was able to step outside of the prejudices o normally I don't like it when protagonists in books are anachronistically liberal and unprejudiced, but I would have made an exception for this story. In fact, I remember as a kid creating elaborate scenarios in my head where Ivanhoe runs off with the Jewish Rebecca instead of staying with the English Rowena. In fact, reading it this time around, I almost found myself liking the villain Brian du Bois-Guillbert. He might have been evil, but at least he was able to step outside of the prejudices of his time and would have been willing to give up everything and marry Rebecca. Also, he was an atheist, which was pretty cool. I mean, what did Ivanhoe actually have going for him? He was an unimaginatively nice and chivalrous guy who was loyal to the brave but stupid Richard the Lion-Hearted. That's about it. He certainly wasn't any kind of visionary, and anyway, he was injured for most of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    I read this for a college literature course, and I remember being one of the few people in the class who liked it. I remember my professor even admitted to not liking it very well. I found it delightful, in the same way Robin Hood and King Arthur tales are delightful. You have to have an appreciation for the whimsical, though, and not take anything too seriously. It's probably no coincidence that I liked this novel and I also still read YA fiction at my advanced age. UPDATE: I just watched the A & I read this for a college literature course, and I remember being one of the few people in the class who liked it. I remember my professor even admitted to not liking it very well. I found it delightful, in the same way Robin Hood and King Arthur tales are delightful. You have to have an appreciation for the whimsical, though, and not take anything too seriously. It's probably no coincidence that I liked this novel and I also still read YA fiction at my advanced age. UPDATE: I just watched the A & E movie version, which refreshed my memory of the book a little. They made the ending of the movie a little happier than the book. They also made more of the romantic attraction between Ivanhoe and Rebecca. There was some of that in the book, but the two did a better job of resisting temptation in the book, which made them more likeable characters, although the movie characters may have been more realistic.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    The book that accounts for most of the writer's reputation. In this he attempts to make a turn towards the past by writing a story that had as its model the medieval romance, as it would be written in the 12th or the 13th century. A story full of noble - and not so noble - knights, beautiful damsels - often in distress -, non-strict priests, witty servants, charming thieves, and much more of the character cast that one finds in this genre. This story is, of course, adventurous and exciting, exce The book that accounts for most of the writer's reputation. In this he attempts to make a turn towards the past by writing a story that had as its model the medieval romance, as it would be written in the 12th or the 13th century. A story full of noble - and not so noble - knights, beautiful damsels - often in distress -, non-strict priests, witty servants, charming thieves, and much more of the character cast that one finds in this genre. This story is, of course, adventurous and exciting, excessive in some places, emotional and often funny, and revolves around brave deeds of nobles and commoners that try to defend their honour and the honour of the weak from the villains who have no moral reservations. The author is doing a great job in imitating the pompous style of these romances, using a pseudo-archaic language to render the language of the time. These, of course, are the one side of this book. The author had, as I said, the medieval romance as a model when he was writing this book, but at the same time he did not seem to want to drift away from his personal style, so he created an ideal combination of this old genre with the historical novel of its time, preserving all the beauty and romance, adding realism and a critical look. So the story is full of nostalgia for a noble past, but at the same time the writer as a historian or in satirical mood criticises the conditions of life that prevailed at that time, the prejudices, especially those against the Jews, the injustice and the prevalence of the law of the strong, ending up even to question the concept of chivalry. In the context of this realism, there are many historical references that I imagine are part of the author's attempt to talk about things of his time. One of the main issues he deals is the conflict between the Saxons and their conquerors, the Normans, who had imposed a regime of violence and lawlessness. The writer, talks much about the effects of this division, the bitterness felt by the Saxons and their desire for revenge, but ends with the fact that in the end these two so different peoples eventually became one when equality and justice prevailed in their relationship. Of course, there are too many parallels with more periods of British history and it would be pointless to mention them in my brief review. The result of all of these was, of course, the creation of a masterpiece that obviously its diachronicity and popularity over the years are better evidence of its value than my own positive opinion. A wonderful book that overflows with romance, offering us a beautiful story of bravery and heroism with a truly enjoyable narrative that takes us ideally into medieval England and passes messages to the reader that are precious in every place and every age. Το βιβλίο στο οποίο οφείλεται το μεγαλύτερο μέρος της φήμης του συγγραφέα. Σε αυτό επιχειρεί να κάνει μία στροφή προς το παρελθόν γράφοντας μία ιστορία που είχε ως πρότυπο τα μεσαιωνικά ρομάντζα, όπως θα γράφονταν τον 12ο ή τον 13ο αιώνα. Μία ιστορία γεμάτη ευγενείς - και όχι τόσο ευγενείς - ιππότες, πανέμορφες - και πολλές φορές σε κίνδυνο - δεσποσύνες, ελάχιστα αυστηρούς ιερωμένους, πνευματώδεις υπηρέτες, γοητευτικούς κλέφτες και γενικότερα μεγάλο μέρος από το καστ των χαρακτήρων που συναντάει κανείς σε αυτό το είδος. Αυτή η ιστορία είναι φυσικά περιπετειώδης και συναρπαστική, υπερβολική σε κάποια σημεία, συναισθηματική και πολλές φορές αστεία και περιστρέφεται γύρω από τα κατορθώματα ευγενών και μη που προσπαθούν να υπερασπιστούν την τιμή τους και την τιμή των αδυνάτων από τους κακούς που δεν έχουν ηθικούς ενδοιασμούς. Ο συγγραφέας κάνει και πολύ καλή δουλειά στη μίμηση του πομπώδους ύφους αυτών των ρομάντζων, χρησιμοποιώντας μία ψευδο-αρχαϊκή γλώσσα για να αποδώσει τη γλώσσα της εποχής. Αυτά, βέβαια, αποτελούν τη μία πλευρά αυτού του βιβλίου. Ο συγγραφέας είχε, όπως είπα, ως πρότυπο τα μεσαιωνικά ρομάντζα όταν έγραφε αυτό το βιβλίο, παράλληλα, όμως, φαίνεται ότι δεν ήθελε να ξεφύγει πολύ από το προσωπικό του ύφος, για αυτό δημιούργησε έναν ιδανικό συνδυασμό αυτού του παλιού του είδους με το ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα της εποχής του, διατηρώντας όλη την ομορφιά και το ρομαντισμό, προσθέτοντας ρεαλισμό και κριτική ματιά. Έτσι η ιστορία είναι γεμάτη από μία νοσταλγία για ένα ευγενές παρελθόν αλλά την ίδια ώρα ο συγγραφέας, πότε με το ύφος του ιστορικού, πότε με σατιρική διάθεση κάνει κριτική για τις συνθήκες ζωής που επικρατούσαν, για τις προκαταλήψεις, ειδικά αυτές εναντίον των Εβραίων, την αδικία και την επικράτηση του δίκιου του ισχυρού, καταλήγοντας να αμφισβητήσει ακόμα και την έννοια του ιπποτισμού. Στα πλαίσια αυτού του ρεαλισμού υπάρχουν πάρα πολλές ιστορικές αναφορές που φαντάζομαι ότι εντάσσονται σε μία προσπάθεια του συγγραφέα να μιλήσει για πράγματα της εποχής του. Ένα από τα κύρια θέματα με τα οποία ασχολείται είναι η διαμάχη ανάμεσα στους Σάξονες και τους κατακτητές τους, τους Νορμανδούς, που με το σκληρό καθεστώς που είχαν επιβάλει ένα καθεστώς βίας και ανομίας. Ο συγγραφέας πολύ για τα αποτελέσματα αυτού του διχασμού, για την πικρία που ένιωθαν οι Σάξονες και την επιθυμία τους για εκδίκηση, καταλήγει, όμως, στο γεγονός ότι στο τέλος αυτοί οι δύο τόσο διαφορετικοί λαοί μπόρεσαν στο τέλος να γίνουν ένας όταν επικράτησε η ισότητα και η δικαιοσύνη στη σχέση τους. Φυσικά υπάρχουν πάρα πολλοί παραλληλισμοί με περισσότερες περιόδους της βρετανικής ιστορίας και θα ήταν περιττό να τους αναφέρω στη σύντομη κριτική μου. Η κατάληξη όλων αυτών ήταν φυσικά η δημιουργία ενός αριστουργήματος που προφανώς η διαχρονικότητα του και η δημοτικότητα του όλα αυτά τα χρόνια είναι καλύτερες αποδείξεις για την αξία του από την δική μου θετική γνώμη. Ένα υπέροχο βιβλίο που ξεχειλίζει από ρομαντισμό, προσφέροντας μας μία πανέμορφη ιστορία γενναιότητας και ηρωισμού με μία πραγματικά απολαυστική αφήγηση που μας μεταφέρει ιδανικά στη μεσαιωνική Αγγλία και περνάει μηνύματα στον αναγνώστη που είναι πολύτιμα σε κάθε τόπο και κάθε εποχή.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This. Was. Amazing. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Wamba is hysterical, Rebecca a true heroine, the writing style magnificent, and all the other characters admirable or detestable by turns. I really love this book. :) This. Was. Amazing. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Wamba is hysterical, Rebecca a true heroine, the writing style magnificent, and all the other characters admirable or detestable by turns. I really love this book. :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Ivanhoe is a classic that is well worth reading for its historical significance alone. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the book itself, but I'm happy I read it. The writing isn't accessible and the characters lack dept, but Ivanhoe still proved an interesting read. I found Ivanhoe fascinating in many ways. First of all, the historical setting and the events it describes were quite completing. I understand that the novel isn't completely historically accurate, but I still think it can tea Ivanhoe is a classic that is well worth reading for its historical significance alone. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the book itself, but I'm happy I read it. The writing isn't accessible and the characters lack dept, but Ivanhoe still proved an interesting read. I found Ivanhoe fascinating in many ways. First of all, the historical setting and the events it describes were quite completing. I understand that the novel isn't completely historically accurate, but I still think it can teach us something about this period in English history. Moreover, not only is Ivanhoe a historical novel, it is also one that has historical significance. Published in 1819, it is often credited with popularizing medieval history and romance. The novel probably had a profound influence on literature set in medieval times. Moreover, it definitely influenced our modern perceptions of famous characters such as: Richard the Lionheart, King John, Robin Hood and his gang (the merry friar and so on). As a novel, Ivanhoe failed to impress me. The plot isn't bad as such, but somehow the novel feels too long. The writing is at times beautiful and there were even some comic episodes, but on the overall the novel feels overwritten. The moralizing passages are often particularly long. While the novel somewhat explores the Jewish- English relations, it doesn't really go into depth. The position of Jews in medieval England is a subject I'm interested it. While I'm glad it was a part of the book, I was left hungry for more. Similarly, some other historical events were not really explored in detailed. A large part of the novel is devoted to the concept of chivalry and christian morality and quite frankly, most of it was quite boring. More than anything, this novel lacks compelling characters. In terms of characterization, everything is black and white. Ivanhoe the protagonist is such a dull character that even minor characters seem more interesting. This 'good guy' is so annoyingly and unconvincingly perfect, that the cardboard villain seems more human. There is no character development to speak of in this novel, not when it comes to the protagonist and hardly any when it comes to others. In my opinion, Rebecca 'The Jewess' is the only character that came to life. She is absolutely the best character in the novel and the only thing that saves it from being mediocre. If only Ivanhoe had the sense to fall in love with her or express something else than 'platonic' feelings, maybe he wouldn't have seemed such a bore. He isn't much of a protagonist, I'm afraid. Indeed, this novel had its flaws. Nevertheless, I would still recommend it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katja Labonté

    5+ stars & 7/10 hearts. I really, really love this book. The setting—England. The era—medieval. The time—Richard Cœur-de-Lion & Robin Hood. The historical accuracy in this book is amazing. The characters are wonderful. There is so much humour, so much beauty, so much wisdom, so much nobility, so much excitement. The plot shows the genius of the author. I love Rowena and Rebecca so much... and Brian. Oh, Brian. He was so, so very close... 💔 There is quite a bit of content in this book—see the det 5+ stars & 7/10 hearts. I really, really love this book. The setting—England. The era—medieval. The time—Richard Cœur-de-Lion & Robin Hood. The historical accuracy in this book is amazing. The characters are wonderful. There is so much humour, so much beauty, so much wisdom, so much nobility, so much excitement. The plot shows the genius of the author. I love Rowena and Rebecca so much... and Brian. Oh, Brian. He was so, so very close... 💔 There is quite a bit of content in this book—see the detailed list below—but some of it brings out the gold in the characters, and it is very thought-provoking. It is a masterpiece, and I love it so much. Recommended ages: 18+. *This review is subject to change*  Content: Many mentions of lovers, women’s honour being stolen, women belonging to men’s couches. One woman is raped by the murderer of her family and lives in his castle as his mistress. The plot is heavily concerned by a man wanting a woman (nothing happens). History plainly tells the licentiousness of the time & the way the Normans behaved to the Saxons they conquered, and Scott does not hide it—he even quotes historical occurrences. There is a lot of drinking & humorous reference to it; some language; a mention that William the Conqueror was a bastard.  A Favourite Quote: “‘Farewell!—I envy not thy blood-won honours—I envy not thy barbarous descent from northern heathens—I envy thee not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but never in thy heart nor in thy practice.’” A Favourite Beautiful Quote: “Their escutcheons have long mouldered from the walls of their castles. Their castles themselves are but green mounds and shattered ruins—the place that once knew them, knows them no more—nay, many a race since theirs has died out and been forgotten in the very land which they occupied, with all the authority of feudal proprietors and feudal lords.” A Favourite Humorous Quote: “‘[T]he Prior Aymer ... told how ... a deadly feud arose between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of the Israelitish nation; and how they cut to pieces well-nigh all the chivalry of that tribe; and how they swore by our blessed Lady, that they would not permit those who remained to marry in their lineage; and how they became grieved for their vow, and sent to consult his holiness the Pope how they might be absolved from it; and how, by the advice of the Holy Father, the youth of the tribe of Benjamin carried off from a superb tournament all the ladies[.]’ “‘I have heard the story,’ said Fitzurse, ‘though either the Prior or thou has made some singular alterations in date and circumstances.’”

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