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Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (30 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140436588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140436587
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born and educated in Edinburgh. He trained as a lawyer and later entered the printing business. He published several volumes of poetry and turned down the offer of the laureateship before concentrating on fiction. He is credited with establishing the form of the historical novel and the short story.

Graham Tulloch is a Reader in English at Flinders University, South Australia. He has published several books on Scott.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ms. V. Hoyle VINE VOICE on 20 Dec 2003
Format: Paperback
Being a mediaevalist by trade I expected "Ivanhoe" to press all the wrong buttons - ludicrous inaccuracies, two-dimensional stock characters and a Disney-esque storyline. So I was pleasantly suprised when I found myself physically incapable of putting it down.
This sudden love affair with "Ivanhoe" (and, as a result, all Walter Scott) is even more surprising given the fact that it is indeed inaccurate, somewhat two-dimensional and very predictable. Yet, it is partly these "faults" that inspired me to enjoy it so much. "Ivanhoe" embodies every child's ideas about the Middle Ages, most of which have now been destroyed, or at least suppressed, by long years of studying it. It is impossible to resist the inherent charm invested in such veritable floods of buckling swash - knights, tournaments, ladies, dark forests, honest outlaws, sieges, hermits, swine-herders, jesters, evil Kings and crusades.
The story arc is incredibly simple: Ivanhoe, banished by his father, Cedric, for falling in love with Cedric's ward Rowena, wins the patronage and friendship of Richard the Lion-Heart on Crusade in the Holy Land. On his return to England, eager to reclaim both his birthright and his fair lady, he is drawn into the struggle between honourable ole' Richard I and his scheming, moustache-twiddling brother John (*boo!*). Then follows tournaments, sieges, intrigues, kidnaps, a mysterious Black Knight in disgiuse, an alliance with Robin Hood (and his merry men, of course), a witch trial and some evil villains (all moustache-twiddling). Add to this a not-so-ascetic hermit with an incredible appetite for pies, a beautiful and sincere Jewess, Rebecca, her rich father Issac and a bundle of memorable Saxon "yeoman" and the stage is set.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Oct 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sir Walter Scott, the father of the modern historical novel whilst massive in his lifetime and after has probably diminished in popularity since the 1920s, however that doesn't stop him from being a good read. I will admit like the other reviewer for this that it is wordy, like all his works, but you must remember that we are talking about the early nineteeth century where most novelists were only really just moving on from what can be seen as the very verbose eighteenth century novels.

Ivanhoe is set in the middle ages and shows the conflict that was still going on between the Saxons and Normans, despite the number of years since the Conquest. This was the first novel to actually cast Robin Hood as a character, and arguably Scott's characterisation of him has been used for virtually every tale of Robin Hood since, whether in novels or on the screen. In many elements this is quite correct historically, allowing for obvious certain embellishments, and I have always found it enjoyable.

I would say that this is in some ways a boys own adventure, and so men will probably find it more appealing than women. (I'll probably get in trouble for putting that).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on 20 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book, supplied to my Kindle, did just as it should. The story, which I had not read before, deals with Richard the Lionheart, his treacherous brother John, but more important gives lots of historical information about the dark ages: the serfs and their masters, conflict between Saxons and Normans, knights and jousting, castles and battles. And there is a central character Robin of Loxley, better known as Robin Hood, with other outlaws such as Friar Tuck making important appearances. There is also a little bit of romantic interest. It's not an easy read, but a worthwhile one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DB on 13 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm just old enough to have seen the Roger Moore TV series of the book, but I understood very little of what was going on, except for the jousting, so I wasn't mad about the show. I much preferred the Richard Green "Robin Hood". As a result, when I finally picked up the book I was pleasantly surprised. It's not an out-and-out delight - Scott's style is always florid and often irritatingly arch or didactic, while many of the speeches are far too theatrical for an action novel. However there are a host of great characters (although Ivanhoe himself is relatively poorly developed), the comic and the dramatic intertwine to good effect and the Richard the Lionheart v John/Saxon v Norman theme works quite well on its own terms and very well as a political message to nineteenth century readers on tolerance and good imperial governance.

And I was amused to discover just how much of what we think of as the Robin Hood "legend" was made up by Scott - I should have watched Ivanhoe again after the Richard green series!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sir Walter Scott is credited with having invented the historical novel, and his Waverley series of books were the first critical and commercially successful stories to feature fictional characters alongside historical figures, and participating in actual events.

In Ivanhoe he revisited that formula, featuring a vivid cast of fictional characters interacting with King John and his Norman barons in England in 1194. The basic story is fairly straightforward, almost to the point of being predictable (though that might not have been the case in 1820): having been disowned and disinherited by his ferociously Saxon father for pledging loyalty to the Norman king, Richard I (of Lionheart fame), Wilfred of Ivanhoe leaves England to join the ill-fated Third Crusade where he covers himself in glory, battling valiantly against the Saracen. He returns to England, travelling in disguise to a major tournament in Ashby de la Zouch where, fighting incognito under the alias The Disinherited Knight, he emerges victorious on the first day after humiliating a host of proud but ineffectual Norman Barons. On the second day he fares almost as well, though the show is stolen by another anonymous knight clad in black armour who, having vanquished more Norman barons, disappears into the crowd, rather like the Lone Rnager leaving confusion in his wake as people ask, 'Who was that masked man?'

There are, however, a host of other complications to the plot, and Scott manages to keep the reader's attention firmly riveted to the book. He captures the feel of the Middle Ages, and even the plethora of details about the technicalities of armour, horseback warfare and estate management in the twelfth century fail to deflect the reader's interest.
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