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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joust In Time!
A REVIEW OF `IVANHOE' BY SIR WALTER SCOTT

Ivanhoe (1819) is a heavyweight among `the classics'. It tells the story of an England disunited during the reign of King Richard I (1189-1199). The schism is not only between the feuding Plantagenet brothers, John and Richard, but also between Saxon and Norman. There is further religious tension between Christian...
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by Barty Literati

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3.0 out of 5 stars Review
I bought book after listening to part of it on radio and found it thrilling listening however I found book quite hard going that isn't a criticism of book as it's in style of time (probably)however I like to read a book quite quickly and I struggled and therefore the three stars are my personal opinion on the positive side however the service from seller good
Published 5 months ago by dg


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joust In Time!, 1 Aug 2011
This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
A REVIEW OF `IVANHOE' BY SIR WALTER SCOTT

Ivanhoe (1819) is a heavyweight among `the classics'. It tells the story of an England disunited during the reign of King Richard I (1189-1199). The schism is not only between the feuding Plantagenet brothers, John and Richard, but also between Saxon and Norman. There is further religious tension between Christian and Jew. Thus, Scott unveils a backdrop of disarray and uncertainty for his unfolding narrative. It is the Norman vs. Saxon tension which is perhaps most interesting, as the French rulers are still viewed as occupying invaders by the `true' Saxon Englishmen, a perspective captured most forcibly in the proud form of Cedric, Ivanhoe's father.

On one level, `Ivanhoe' is the archetypal medieval romp. All of the key ingredients for a Middle Ages epic are here: feuding families, knights, jousting, sword-fights, castles, sieges, daring escapes, damsels in distress, thrown gauntlets, to name but a few. However, `Ivanhoe' is far more than a period drama tick list. As well as action, it offers complex characterisation and plenty of food for thought about what was paradoxically a `more civilised' yet (in many ways) truly barbaric era. As well as the big issues, Scott offers some clever stylistic touches. For example, a series of chapters which tell the parallel events of a number of characters separately held in captivity all end with the same bugle call, bringing us back to same moment in time.

However, the ambition of `Ivanhoe' is arguably also a source of its limitations in truly engaging the reader. Although the novel's title is simply one man's name, `Ivanhoe' provides three distinct heroes, with Richard The Lionheart and Locksley* (ie. Robin Hood) making up the numbers. Whilst this adds variety to the settings and the direction of the narrative, it does rather dilute the reader's emotional involvement. Taking Ivanhoe himself, he does rather drift in and out of the unfolding story, albeit having a profound impact when present. Similarly, Locksley and his entourage (including Friar Tuck and Allan-a-Dale) seem to be crying out for an adventure that is truly their own. It is for this reason that I found Henry Gilbert's `Robin Hood' and more engaging and satisfying read than the more worthy and revered `Ivanhoe'.

Nevertheless, for its scale, ambition and scope, `Ivanhoe' more than merits its status as a book of high literary value. It numerous big-screen and small-screen reinventions stand testimony to its ability to continue to appeal to an audience keen to lose itself in a more chivalrous age, but still enjoy the modern comforts of the remote control. After all, it's so much easier to handle than a jousting pole.

Barty's Score: 8/10

* Scott has been credited with having effectively `named' the esteemed outlaw, who has been dubbed `Robin of Locksley' in countless retellings since 1819.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of humour, a joy for language lovers, 5 Jun 2011
By 
VENTURINI VIVIANA (NAVE, BRESCIA Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I particularly like the detailed descriptions of the characters, the use of ancient language - e.g. "Thou shalt have" - and the humour the book is full of. Very funny is the dialogue between Wamba and Gurth, when they talk about the words "swine" and "pork." "Why, how call you the those grunting brutes running about on their four legs?" (Swine, in Saxon) "... but how call you the sow when she is flayed, and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels, like a traitor?" (Pork, in Norman-French). "And so, when the brute lives, and is in the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the Castle-hall to feast among the nobles."
I recommend this book, together with Robin Hood, both edited by Wordsworth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pre-cinematic action-adventure classic, 25 Mar 2010
By 
LittleMoon (loving my life in the rain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe opens in an idyllic England of old, when towns might still be called pleasant, forests were still extensive, and the land was peopled with dashing knights and amiable yeoman. King Richard (the Lionheart) is off fighting the crusades, and Prince John is taking advantage of his brother's absence to plot his own way to the throne.

An unknown palmer leads a band of Normans out of a stormy night and into the home of a Saxon nobleman, Cedric, and aids the early morning escape of unfortunate Jew, Isaac of York. Later a disinherited knight will prevail at a jousting tournament, and choose the beautiful Lady Rowena to be the tournament's Queen of Love and Beauty; his life will be saved during a melee by the mysterious knight clad in black: the Black Sluggard. The bewitching Jewess Rebecca, the archer Locksley, a fool, a swineherd, and a handful of proud Norman nobles make up a cast of memorable, and socially diverse characters that inhabit this romanticised land in the 12th Century.

A work of roughly "historical" fiction it may be, but Scott rarely lets a schoolmasterly lecture get in the way of a good story. Valour and chivalry are satiated as bouts of jousting, feasting, kidnap, rescue and sieges maintain pace and action, whilst elements of disguise and secrecy offer intrigue. Meanwhile, Rebecca champions female strength and dignity in her refusal of the advances of Brian de Bois-Gilbert, even as her fate hangs in the balance. Sure, there are places where the tale slows, and the characters are revealed more fully, usually in the course of grand conversations, but the reader will soon be rewarded for any patience these few chapters might humbly request.

I can't think of a single reason to deduct a star from Ivanhoe; it's a pre-cinematic action-adventure classic that moves swiftly from one tale of derring-do to the next; it's humorous, moving and exciting. It's a perfectly balanced tale, told by a master storyteller, in gently flowing prose. Scott is often credited with bringing about a revival of interest in the Middle Ages, and I challenge anyone to read* Ivanhoe and not be swept up in the drama, conflicts and heroism of a bygone world.

(*read means from beginning to end!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make them like this any more, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Audio CD)
They don't make them like this any more! In a busy world people don't find much time for lengthy novels by sir walter Scott, which is a pity but a fact. However, Ivanhoe is a good yarn, full of exciting events, and this radical abridgement serves its purpose well. It also manages to convey the emotional import of Ivanhoe rather well. There is more emotional complexity here than you might expect. I would love it if someone would do abridgements of all the waverley novels, as they have of many of trollopes novels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The book is cool and the delivery was o, 19 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Hi, Sorry for my earlier communique. I didn't realize that this had arrived due to you having spelt my name wrong (CAMBULL instead of Campbell Hart). I thought somebody had signed in my stead as happened once some years back. My apologies. The book is cool and the delivery was o.k. apart from the mis-spelling of my name in your subsequent message.
Many Thanks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I bought book after listening to part of it on radio and found it thrilling listening however I found book quite hard going that isn't a criticism of book as it's in style of time (probably)however I like to read a book quite quickly and I struggled and therefore the three stars are my personal opinion on the positive side however the service from seller good
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2.0 out of 5 stars Classic?, 26 Jun 2014
By 
Medieval Babe (Rosyth, Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I brought this book after years of hearing how great it is.
I agree that it is a classic, but the classics are not always the best.
If you are into medieval jousting and like having whole chapters devoted to the colours and amour used in tournaments and old fashioned language such as hath and thee, then this is the book for you.
If like me you like the author to get to the point then I would not buy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In days of olde when men appeared to be...., 15 Sep 2012
By 
still searching (MK UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
...in the main, sexist and racial and religious bigots, women and anyone not of the Christian faith had a pretty raw deal! Reading this again about forty years after the first time I encountered it these are the strongest impressions with which I am left. Of course, we receive these impressions through the filter of Scott's own presumptions and he is usually quick in drawing favourable distinctions between himself and his own time with regard to the prejudices that form the backbone to the structure of the story and not above being selective or actually manipulating history if it serves this purpose.

Having said all this it still, nevertheless, remains a ripping yarn, basically, of the return of the `prodigal' son or son's stripe, if we include Richard sneaking home through the back door to escape the notice of his clearly nasty younger brother, John with his equally repellent and sycophantic flunkies. The eponymous `hero' doesn't really make his own appearance till a significant way through the narrative and, when he does, we find him a somewhat proud, vainglorious, patronizing but probably, good looking chap who handles a lance and sword well.

It is the women, Rebecca, Rowena and Edith (Athelstane's mom) who come out of all of this with their integrity intact. Of the men, only the fool, Wamba and the serf, Gurth, have any truly noble qualities despite playing distinctly second rate roles in comparison to the kings, knights and unjustly accused outlaw chiefs they risk their lives to aid.

For those who don't mind breaking into the narrative there is a wealth of notes that give richness and clarity to Scott's (only) occasionally mildly baffling prose.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read?, 12 Feb 2009
This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This novel by Sir Walter Scott is an enoyable one based in 12th century England. It has knights, damsels in distress and plenty of jousting. The 12th century humour from the court jester even made me laugh on occassions. By the end my knowledge of the "Norman Yoke" and that ever popular hero, Robin Hood had increased.
I postponed reading the excellent introduction until after finishing the book. It appeared well researched and put across clearly some deeper themes I had not considered on my initial reading.

The Guardian has this book in their 2009 list of 1,000 novels everyone must read.
Yes, it is good but I wouldn't class it as a "must read" book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it from start to finish, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Absolute classic. Loved it from start to finish. Filled with interesting characters, plots and action scenes. Great history lesson of the Norman/Anglo-Saxon period with a little piece of Robin Hood thrown in.
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Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics)
Ivanhoe (Wordsworth Classics) by Sir Walter Scott (Paperback - 5 Feb 1995)
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