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Paperback Ivanhoe (Lake Illustrated Classics, Collection 4) Book

ISBN: 289429588X

ISBN13: 9781561035908

Ivanhoe (Lake Illustrated Classics, Collection 4)

(Book #5 in the Waverley Novels Series)

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Book Overview

First published in 1820, today Ivanhoe has become legend and is by far the most popular of Sir Walter Scotts novels. It 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...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Warning - Dense Reading

This story, set in the 12th century, is a job well and thoroughly done by Walter Scott. The words are quite intricate and require time and concentration to wade through, but it is very much worth it; the story itself is fantastic. Despite the words being lengthy, there is depth and, oftentimes, humor within them. Apart from the fascinating plot, societal problems are addressed, particularly anti-Semitism. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who has time and is interested in medieval England, as well as those who consider Robin Hood too light of a read.

Knighthood

Published in 1819, this is a classic tale of knighthood. It is one of the best chivalric novels ever published. It's set at the close of the 12th century. Deals with the Knights Templar.

Good story, but very dry reading

Sir Walter Scott's tale of "Ivanhoe" is an enjoyable story, but it taxes the readers patience many times over. If you can bear with the very lengthy descriptions, and what has to be the driest, most boring first chapter of any book in Western Civilization, you will actually find yoursel drawn into the story. Two quick notes, you may want Cliff's Notes or an on-line equivalent to help keep straight as to who is who, and to help get a better understanding of the often arcane writing style. Second, this Signet classic version of the book really needs to be re-set for a more modern typeset. This book is still using the typeset from the 1962 printing, and it is very difficult on the eye. Most other classic books have since been re-set to a larger print to make it easier on the eye. "Ivanhoe" should not be an exception. (Note: other editions of "Ivanhoe" available in mass market form ARE available in an easier-to-read print, and the reader may want to consider them over this edition.)

More Than Just Another Medieval Romance

It was fashionable during my school days (the 60s and 70s) to dismiss "Ivanhoe" as just another medieval romance replete with damsels in distress and their knights in shining armor. In retrospect, I think that was just a lazy excuse (certainly my own) to avoid wading through this rather lengthy, densely written historical novel. Take my advice, fellow reader: wade through. It is well worth your time and energy.The story, of course, is set in Merry Ole England, with Richard the Lion-Hearted on the throne and his malevolent kid brother (the future King John of Magna Carta fame) plotting to take it away from him. From the history we do know of this period, King Richard rarely spent any time in England, much preferring to immerse himself in the Crusades or any other errant knight adventure which struck his fancy. In this setting we find the Saxon-bred Ivanhoe, who against his father's wishes joined Richard in the Middle East to fight the "Infidel." Ultimately, Ivanhoe finds his way back into his father's good graces, and I suppose at one level Sir Walter Scott's Classic is about their estrangement and final rapprochement. But "Ivanhoe" is so much more.Perhaps the over-arching theme to "Ivanhoe" is the nascent reconciliation between the proud, yet vanquished, Saxons and their equally proud, conquering French Norman overlords. The story takes place about a century after the Norman Conquest, and it took a great many more years than that before the antagonists successfully blended together to form the greatest nation on earth. Equally great was the emergence of the language we now call English, which is in large measure a synthesis of the Saxon and Norman tongues. But at the time of "Ivanhoe," two distinct languages exist (and Scott never allows us to forget this essential fact), and the friction between the two races is palpable throughout."Ivanhoe" can be divided into three major scenes: the Passage of Arms at Ashby, the siege of Torquilstone, and the final contest at Templestowe for the life of the Jewish heroine, Rebecca. The entire novel can be viewed as three successive peaks separated by long, undulating transitional valleys. I hesitate to voice any criticism of Scott's greatest work, but maybe a brave editor would have made him shorten his transitions a bit. But no matter. "Ivanhoe" at its worst is still better than most, and the rather lengthy transitional passages slow the pace down for the players to utter Shakespearean-like commentary on the world as it is."Ivanhoe" is an enduring classic for so many reasons. For one thing, Sir Walter Scott is simply incapable of rendering one-dimensional characters. Even the evil triumvirate of Front-de-Boeuf, Maurice de Bracy and Bois-Guilbert is rendered (at times) in a sympathetic light. By the time they are besieged at the Castle of Torquilstone, the reader is salivating over the prospect of them dangling over the battlements, with or without their armor on. And, yet, as the stranglehold tightens, Scott

The Mother of All Historical Novels!

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this book, by Sir Walter Scott, was the progenitor of what was to become a venerable tradition in English letters (and in other European literatures as well): the historical romance. There have been many after IVANHOE, and frequently with a finer eye to the period in which the tale is set (for IVANHOE contains quite a number of anachronisms -- even Scott acknowledged it), but few have done it quite as well as Scott. He uses an archaic English to give voice to his characters, but one which is readily absorbed because of the speed & quality of the tale. So, though these people certainly wouldn't really have spoken as he has them speaking, they yet sound as though they should have. Peopled by many 'stock' characters and situations, this tale was fresh in its time & still reads well today -- a testament to Scott's skills as a teller of tales and a sketcher of marvelously wrought characters. In this tale of the 'disinherited knight' returning home to find the world he left turned upside down, young Ivanhoe, after a stint with King Richard in the Holy Land, must fight the enemies of his king and kinsmen anew. Yet the hero is oddly sidelined for much of the tale as events swirl around him and the brilliantly evoked villain, Sir Brian de Bois Gilbert, in the pay of Prince John, struggles to win treasure and the beautiful Rebeccah, who yet has eyes only for Ivanhoe, a knight she can never hope to win herself. There's lots of action and coincidences galore here and Robin Hood makes more than a cameo appearance, as does the noble Richard. In sum, this one's great fun, a great tale, and the progenitor of a whole genre. All those which came after owe their form to it. Worth the price and the read.

20 years ago I hated this book. Now......

20 years later (much evolved from my brain dead, high school student period ) I had a blast reading Ivanhoe. The descriptions are rich, the dialog snappy and often very witty (not to mention sarcastic and snide)......the story held my interest from the get go. Wamba the Jester is my hero! Highly recommended for more mature audiences, but I can see how a younger person (for example: average brain dead, high schoolers) would be completely bemused by the book.
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