Book - 1998
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More than a century after the Norman Conquest, England remains a colony of foreign warlords. The dissolute Prince John plots to seize his brother's crown, his barons terrorize the country, and the mysterious outlaw Robin Hood haunts the ancient greenwood. The secret return of King Richard andthe disinherited Saxon knight, Ivanhoe, heralds the start of a splendid and tumultuous romance, featuring the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche, the siege of Torquilstone, and the clash of wills between the wicked Templar Bois-Guilbert and the sublime Jewess Rebecca. In Ivanhoe Scott fashioned an imperial myth of national cultural identity that has shaped the popular imagination ever since its first appearance at the end of 1819. The most famous of Scottish novelists drew on the conventions of Gothic fiction, including its risky sexual and racial themes, toexplore the violent origins and limits of English nationality. This edition uses the 1830 Magnum Opus text, corrected against the Interleaved Set, and incorporates readings from Scott's manuscript. The introduction examines the originality and cultural importance of Ivanhoe, and draws on current work by historians and cultural critics.
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, [1998], c1996
ISBN: 9780192834997
Branch Call Number: FIC Scott
Characteristics: xxxvii, 581 p. --
Additional Contributors: Duncan, Ian


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Aug 27, 2017

If you haven't read any Scott then at least read Ivanhoe.

One of the most important things to know to understanding Ivanhoe is how the Norman Invasion of 1066 effected the Anglo-Saxon and Briton people. For almost 300 years afterwards, Norman French was the 'acceptable' language and Normans and Saxons did not intermarry. In several places the Normans, to prove a point, sallied out from their castles and wiped out the local population, men, women children. In others they were treated little better than slaves. The Romans and the Anglo-Saxons did not do this. They integrated with the people after initial struggles. They also allowed some sovereignty to local chiefs/kings. Ivanhoe is at it's core a story of an oppressed people struggling to keep their identity, their beliefs and customs, language and freedom.

Scott's writing is great and the story interesting if not always historically accurate. He mentions marriages between Saxon and Norman which were very rare. Also, King Richard was only in England for 6 months out of his 10 year reign and spent his time there exacting increased taxes from the people to fund his crusades. He was a giant of a man who was known as the Lion Heart but he really was not that beloved of the people. However, Scott's portrayal of John is pretty accurate except that he probably died of dysentery and not a 'surfeit of peaches.'

Scott's depiction of the Jew, Issac of York, is very stereotypical and yet his depiction of his daughter, Rebecca, was a brave move at a time when Jews were still seen as less than Christians. Since Christians were not allowed to loan money for interest and this was the only profession open to Jews, then this image of being money greedy was forced upon them. Maybe Scott wanted to balance the view of Jews and made in Rebecca one of the finest heroines in literature as will be seen later in the book.
The Jews were totally expelled from England in the Edict of Expulsion, a royal decree issued by King Edward I of England on 18 July 1290, expelling all Jews from the Kingdom of England. The expulsion edict remained in force for the rest of the Middle Ages. The edict was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of over 200 years of increased persecution.
Not until 1856 were Jews given equal rights in England. Scott did a very brave thing making Rebecca, a Jewess, the heroine of the story. Another of the great reasons to love Scott.

Scott studied chivalry before writing the book and it shows in a lot of Ivanhoe. However, Scott had the Knights; Bois-Guilbert, De Bracy and Front-de-Bouef all display non chivalrous behaviour whereas Cedric's followers, his jester and swineherd, the most. Interesting? Was Scott saying chivalry is more to do with the heart than the taking of an oath?

The story is close to my heart being staged close to where I grew up and full of Scott's wisdom and enlightenment. Love the story.

Aug 26, 2016

I think I started this twice before but never finished it. This time I made it to the end. It's one of the few books my rather unliterary father seemed to have been impressed with in his youth. Highly melodramatic: the good are very good, the bad are very bad. Some stock characters grow tiresome. The work had a considerable vogue during the heyday of romanticism, then migrated to the category of children's literature. Highly politically incorrect with overt anti-Semitism, but this is undercut by Rebecca's stealing the show.

Jun 06, 2011

I read this when I was 12, but stopped half way through because t was due back at the library. A lot of it was pretty slow, but the part where the mysterious Black Knight was fencing was too good to put down. If you like Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice you should definently read this.

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Aug 26, 2016

jensenmk thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

red_ostrich_17 Nov 27, 2013

red_ostrich_17 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99


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Aug 26, 2016

On the books' influence: "With Scott's 'Ivanhoe,' issued among the Waverleys for a variation in setting, if not in theme, an idyll of sentimental feudalism was taken up in the antebellum South as a blueprint and a benediction for a civilization already divided into landed fiefdoms and fully regulated by caste. Out of the novel's high-colored Arthurian cloth was fashioned, in and for the states of the future Confederacy, a self-conscious and elaborately archaizing cult of courtliness (the leading planters even dubbing themselves 'The Chivalry'), complete with tournaments and duels and, above all, a prodigiously exaggerated attachment to the chastity and honor of women, who were reared and cultivated accordingly."

--Claudia Roth Pierpont, "A Study in Scarlett," The New Yorker (Aug. 31, 1992), p. 90.

Aug 26, 2016

“. . . women are but the toys which amuse our lighter hours — ambition is the serious business of life."

—Albert Malvoisin, the preceptor of Templestowe, a preceptory of the Knights Templar, in Walter Scott, Ivanhoe (1820), ch. 36.


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Aug 01, 2014

Violence: Nothing too gory. What you would expect from Medival times violence. It didn't make me want to put the book away.


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