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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspend the Historian, Embrace the 19th Century Romanticist
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...
Published on 20 Dec 2003 by Ms. V. Hoyle

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably more information than is needed to please a modern reader. Some characters are over the top.
Definitely worth reading but skipping bits helps. The action is superbly well described and the Saxon world comes over vividly.

However it is hard to take the motivation of some main characters seriously.
Published 5 months ago by NSR


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspend the Historian, Embrace the 19th Century Romanticist, 20 Dec 2003
By 
Ms. V. Hoyle (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) (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.
Scott eagerly caricatures the mediaeval period, with a self-reflexive understanding of his sources and historical reality. The framing "Dedicatory Epistle" to one Dr. Dry-as-dust alerts the reader to his purpose, which is not to relate historical fact but to create historical myth. This he does with a good helping of satircal humour and deprecation, evoking a parody of both of the mediaeval period and the Romantic period.
Yet, the parody is sincere. Scott understands the main attractions of mediaeval life and yokes them to his purpose, writing a romance which is both exciting and self-critical. Every character and actions is memorable in its ability to overwrite, and reinvoke, ideals already blooming in our minds.
When Scott's London publisher first received the proofs for the first Volume of the novel, he apparently took them to read on his journey from Edinburgh to York. He wrote to his Scottish associate the next day exlaiming: "I read it so anxiously that I did not take any exercise or physical relief at the stages. It is a most extroadinary book." I cannot recommend it higher than that.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still A Great Read, 10 Oct 2010
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M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading - if you like Engish classical literature, 20 July 2013
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining medieval hokum., 13 Sep 2010
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DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably more information than is needed to please a modern reader. Some characters are over the top., 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
Definitely worth reading but skipping bits helps. The action is superbly well described and the Saxon world comes over vividly.

However it is hard to take the motivation of some main characters seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed reading Ivanhoe, 28 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
having just seen the Anthony Andrews version of Ivanhoe I decided that reading the original book was a must. I can't say the book failed in anyway. It was far more detailed than the film which only goes to show that the book is a more often than not better than the film adapations!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good version with a lengthy introduction - critical essay, 27 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
A good quality version with a lengthy introduction and critical essay making assumptions and analysing book's background and author's reasoning
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned, 2 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
Good story but victorian prose drags it out to start with but once characters are established it gets better. Will try another Scott classic
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ivanhoe., 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
It arrived really quickly, and the book is brilliant. So i'm very happy with it. I need five more words to submit.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 2 Oct 2010
This review is from: Ivanhoe (Kindle Edition)
This is a good book with an enjoyable enough story. The writing is a bit long winded and over descriptive which is at times a bit boring, when you consider how old the book is this is only to be expected from the the style of writing used at that time. All in all a good book and considering that it is free its worth reading and everyone has their own tastes so some will like it a bit more than others. I enjoyed reading it to compare it to the film version and as usual in these cases the book is better.
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Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics)
Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) by Walter Scott (Paperback - 30 Mar 2000)
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