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Ivanhoe [With eBook]

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The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps listeners into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard the Lion Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman, is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft-but it is Lady The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps listeners into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard the Lion Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman, is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft-but it is Lady Rowena who is Ivanhoe's true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp England's throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature-Richard the Lion Hearted and the well-loved, famous outlaw Robin Hoo-team up to defeat the Normans and regain the castle. The success of this novel lies with Sir Walter Scott's skillful blend of historic reality, chivalric romance, and high adventure.


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The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps listeners into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard the Lion Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman, is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft-but it is Lady The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps listeners into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard the Lion Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman, is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft-but it is Lady Rowena who is Ivanhoe's true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp England's throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature-Richard the Lion Hearted and the well-loved, famous outlaw Robin Hoo-team up to defeat the Normans and regain the castle. The success of this novel lies with Sir Walter Scott's skillful blend of historic reality, chivalric romance, and high adventure.

30 review for Ivanhoe [With eBook]

  1. 5 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

    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 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.

  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

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    930. Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. 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. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels. Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a 930. Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. 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. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels. 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. عنوانها: انگلیس در هشت قرن پیش با قسمتهایی از جنگهای صلیبی؛ آیوانهو؛ نویسنده: سر والتر اسکات؛ (توسن) ادبیات انگلیس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه ژوئن سال 2014 میلادی 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: 160 ص؛ 11×17س‌م.، این کتاب تحت عنوان «آیوانهوئه» در سالهای مختلف با مترجمان و ناشران متفاوت چاپ گردیده است، موضوع: داستان‌های انگلیسی -- قرن 19 م، انگلستان -- تاریخ -- ریچارد اول، 1189 - 1199 م. – داستان عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: خسرو شایسته؛ تهران، سپیده، 1364، در 174 ص؛ مصور، فروست: انتشارات سپیده 12، 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 298 ص، شابک: 9789643059545؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: عنایت الله شکیباپور؛ تهران، توسن، 1363، در 87 ص؛ مصور، فروست: انتشارات سپیده 12،؛ عنوان: ایوانهو (متن کوتاه شده)؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: شکوفه اخوان؛ تهران، نهال نویدان، 1375، در 159 ص، شابک: 9649004653؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: محمدتقی دانیا؛ تهران، دبیر، 1386، در 208 ص، شابک: 9789642621224؛ عنوان: ایوانهو؛ تالیف: سروالتر اسکات؛ مترجم: محمدتقی دانیا؛ تهران، دادجو: دبیر، 1388، در 174 ص،شابک: 9789642621224؛ سِر والتر اسکات، رمان‌نویس، شاعر، تاریخ‌دان و زندگی‌نامه‌ نویس اسکاتلندی است، 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 ساکسونها، که خون پادشان در رگهایش جاری ست، 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، درصدد 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 ساکسونها، 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 نورمانها، 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 تتبع تاریخی بتوان ابراز داشت، ابداً به موفقیت اثر لطمه وارد نمی‌آورد، زیرا تازگی سبک، همه‌ جا آشکار است. والتر اسکات، چنانکه خود در تقدیم‌نامه ی اثر اعلام می‌دارد، تنها قصد داشته، که رنگ تاریخی رمان را حفظ کند. او ضمن اکتفا به اینکه چیزی مخالف واقعیت تاریخی در آن راه ندهد در انتخاب جزئیات مقداری آزادی برای خود قائل شده است. ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 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 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.

  6. 4 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 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.

  7. 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 “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!

  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 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

    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 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.

  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 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. Uh-oh, Jews 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 (well, was, in 1200). He's constantly showing people being dicks to Isaac and then writing things like "Man, he sure is being a dick to that poor Jew!" He uses the word "bigot" like 50 times. Buuuuut, the fact remains that Isaac is indeed a craven caricature, a Barabas, so one gets the unsettling impression that Scott is having it both ways. I mean, Scott actually explains it: he's like, "We've left this poor race no place in society but as money-lenders, we've constantly oppressed them, it's our fault they've become avaricious; we don't allow them to be anything else!" And you're like ehhhhhh, man, but didn't you make Isaac up in your own brain? I dunno. I'm vexed by the portrayal of Isaac. I don't get super hater vibes; I kinda suspect Scott is doing his best and it's just sortof an ass-headed effort. But prospective readers are due a warning: depending on your own feelings, you may find this totally unobjectionable or incredibly offensive. He's a major character. 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 C.

    Medieval memory, great memory; childhood memory, intense memory! That it is far from the time when during the summer holidays at my grandparents, I ironed tirelessly this illustrated novel on what constituted, without my knowing it, the archetype of the romantic hero! Chivalrous cheats, tournament atmospheres and allure for the Middle Ages: everything immediately charmed me in Walter Scott's Ivanhoe. It is true that with time, many details and characters go by the ways, like the young Rebecca or Medieval memory, great memory; childhood memory, intense memory! That it is far from the time when during the summer holidays at my grandparents, I ironed tirelessly this illustrated novel on what constituted, without my knowing it, the archetype of the romantic hero! Chivalrous cheats, tournament atmospheres and allure for the Middle Ages: everything immediately charmed me in Walter Scott's Ivanhoe. It is true that with time, many details and characters go by the ways, like the young Rebecca or the denunciation of the inequalities of this English society (whether between Saxons and Normans or between knights and peasants, or even between Christians and Jews). However, I can not advise to approach the Middle Ages by the romantic vision of French and English writers of the nineteenth century: of course, it swarms with archetypes on every page, but here at least we do not speak of "middle age" vision. Only the inequalities put forward can be considered as criticisms, but often refer to those widely present in our current societies. At least, with Walter Scott as figurehead of this revival of the Middle Ages 150 years ago, we know what we can love in this period: heroic acts and beautiful parades; that's not bad. Obviously, the link is very strong with the famous Robin Hood and heavy themes are mentioned in these pages: the unfortunate return of the crusade, thwarted love, the weight of religion. This is naturally the charm of this kind of literature: the clichés are a host, but the atmosphere is such that it always reads with great pleasure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashwood (애쉬 우드).

    This book took me a while to read, which is rare for me, so yea.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 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."

  15. 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.

  16. 5 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 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.

  17. 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 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.

  18. 4 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 4 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 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.

  21. 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, 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    4 1/2 stars I was a little chary of starting this one when I did as I'd recently finished The Mysteries of Udolpho and I wasn't all that keen on embarking on another long and sometimes boring read. This was meant to be set during the Age of Chivalry after all, I had great fears that there would be people declaiming right and left, maidenly honour being besmirched and people reading poetry as entertainment. In the fragile state I was in I wasn't sure I'd be able to cope. However I needed have 4 1/2 stars I was a little chary of starting this one when I did as I'd recently finished The Mysteries of Udolpho and I wasn't all that keen on embarking on another long and sometimes boring read. This was meant to be set during the Age of Chivalry after all, I had great fears that there would be people declaiming right and left, maidenly honour being besmirched and people reading poetry as entertainment. In the fragile state I was in I wasn't sure I'd be able to cope. However I needed have worried, Ivanhoe was an absolute cracker. Not a dull moment from start to finish. In fact I don't think there was much breathing space from start to finish. There were also jokes from 'rude mechanicals' which were genuinely funny without needing anyone to explain the punchline. The setting is England around the times of King Richard the Lionheart and the Holy Crusades. To make Ivanhoe the story it is, Walter Scott throws in a vast heaping of history, adds large chunks of realistic ambiance and spices everything up with more than a dash of mythical story telling (i.e. totally made up bullshit) and dishes us up a stew both tasty and hearty. King Richard is missing and rumours abound, the villainous Prince John plots and schemes for the throne and the greenwoods ring to the sound of Merry Men. Also back from the Crusades comes the brave young Ivanhoe, bosom friend of his majesty and estranged from his family for daring to love a lady of most noble Saxon birth who her guardian (Ivanhoes own father) wished to marry off to another great Saxon prince and so create yet another contender for the vacantish throne. And here we have the first of the clashes portrayed in the book - Saxon vs Norman. Shortly after another is introduced in the form of a cringing Jew who is despised and reviled by virtue of being suspected of growing rich off the blood of Christian men and for simply existing. Sir Walter Scott does make rather a caricature of Issac the moneylender but he does show the social conditions which lead to his devotion and love of money. These aren't the only themes in the work but they are probably the most prominent and Walter Scott doesn't shy away from showing how even the best of men could be blinded by their society taught bigotry. Ivanhoe was a man of his time, a super man of his time to be sure, but still greatly flawed. Although refraining from actual physical abuse his contempt for even the virtuous Jewess Rebecca threatens to overshadow our opinion of him. This determination to show reality rather than an entirely idealised picture of life is one of the great feature of the book. In tournaments knight die - lances splinter and impale the unlucky, swords don't just clang harmlessly off of armour, they sheer through blood and bone. You can almost hear the screams of agony coming from the pages during these 'friendly' entertainments. The lands are practically lawless, only the powerful and extremely well connected had any real hope of getting 'justice'. Women who were abducted were very likely raped. Repeatedly. Knights were neither gentle nor kind. Torture was rife, religious bigotry was beyond endemic and might made right from King down. Of course this was a fictional story so in the end the good guys are going to win; for all of Walter Scotts gritty realism this was never really not going to be the case. Still, even the ending gives pause for thought; there isn't quite the golden little ribbon neatly tying everything up in one happy package. A wonderful story, it only loses half a star because, while entertaining, the people inside the covers never show any actual individuality. Baring the nuanced Rebecca they have a character and a section of society they are meant to represent and they don't step outside of these roles. Even the titular character Ivanhoe is no more than a cardboard cutout, although there is a slight suggestion of personal growth near the very end there isn't any more time for this to be developed. This lack of depth didn't really worry me, the story was great and I loved it. I'm definitely looking forward to reading what else he has on the list.

  23. 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Audio #91

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Second reading: February 2017 First reading: December 2014 Indisputably a classic for all of the right reasons. This is an incredible adventure story that is full of famous icons and age old ideas about courtly love but it is also a fascinating social commentary and complex bit of storytelling. Sir Walter Scott provides highly entertaining content which also respects the intelligence and intellectual curiosity of its readers. Read Ivan home for the story but know that it will leave a mark on your Second reading: February 2017 First reading: December 2014 Indisputably a classic for all of the right reasons. This is an incredible adventure story that is full of famous icons and age old ideas about courtly love but it is also a fascinating social commentary and complex bit of storytelling. Sir Walter Scott provides highly entertaining content which also respects the intelligence and intellectual curiosity of its readers. Read Ivan home for the story but know that it will leave a mark on your heart and will challenge the way in which you perceive others. Sir Walter Scott challenges social ideas both of his time and the time of his setting. His caricatures of the heroes and the villains are interesting, complex and properly balanced. When the worst stereotypes of medieval Jews are shown in Isaac, they are immediately counterbalanced in the sincerity and generosity of Rebecca. Where the monastic friars are corrupt, licentious and self-serving they are counterbalanced by Christians who are sincere, faithful and gentle. We have a Black Knight who is anything but dark or evil. We have Templars who are attired in light and airy garments who are evil personified. The balancing and counterbalancing extends also to the characters themselves. In Cedric we see a brash, judgmental, harsh Lord who is also tender and loving and gracious. In Sir Brian, we see a calculating and sophisticated warrior who seeks to serve his own interests until he is bewildered by an inexplicable affection for someone he cannot have who renders him gentle, supplicant and almost worthy. I have always loved Robin Hood and the fact that he feature so prominently in this story serves me as a bit of the cherry on top of the sundae. I love sir Walter Scott's treatment of Robin Hood. He is highly organized, deeply Noble and, as the Black Knight calls him, a king in his own right. This is my second reading of the book and I spent a significant portion of my childhood watching the Anthony Andrews movie. this novel does not fail to impress. I enjoyed it, I learned from it and I am certain that I will be reading it again and again throughout my lifetime.

  26. 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. :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

    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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Silva

    Well, that was fun. ^_^

  29. 4 out of 5

    Milda

    Be prepared. Sir Walter Scott will take you to an era with great detail and adventure. Ivanhoe contains a fascinating portrayal of the Saxon and Norman cultures and it has it all: magnificent battles, corrupt priests and abbots, estranged fathers and sons, Robin Hood, Richard the Lionhearted, Knights Templar... I love this book so much.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    On my short list of books I am actively reading, I include a "bucket book," defined as a book I really should have read by this time in my life, but which for various reasons, I have not. In this category, I just finished Ivanhoe, which I found quite enjoyable. I think it was also my first Scott novel. Fun.

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