Ivanhoe: A Romance – Walter Scott
Download Ivanhoe: A Romance ebook. Ivanhoe /ˈaɪvənˌhoʊ/ is an historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. At the time it was written it represented a shift by Scott away from fairly realistic novels set in Scotland in the comparatively recent past, to a somewhat fanciful depiction of medieval England. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott’s novels.
Ivanhoe is set in 12th-century England, with colourful descriptions of a tournament, outlaws, a witch trial and divisions between Jews and Christians. It has been credited for increasing interest in romance and medievalism; John Henry Newman claimed Scott “had first turned men’s minds in the direction of the Middle Ages”, while Carlyle and Ruskin made similar assertions of Scott’s overwhelming influence over the revival, based primarily on the publication of this novel. It has also had an important influence on popular perceptions of Richard the Lionheart, King John, and Robin Hood.
There have been several adaptations for stage, film and television.
No wonder this novel is a classic! I’m sure there isn’t much I can add to the praises of Ivanhoe. I will just say that I enjoyed it very much. I mostly wanted to comment on the edition that I read.
I purchased The Modern Library Classics (paperback) edition. The quality of the book is fair, for a paperback. There are a few footnotes throughout the book and quite a few notes on the text in the back of the book, some were written by Scott himself. I only found a few of these notes to be helpful; as for the rest, they did nothing to enhance my understanding of the text and some left me with even more questions than when I started. Many of them refer to other books for further explanation.
Also, there are quite a few phrases throughout the story in Latin and French. Some are explained in the text while the rest are left untranslated. I wish their translations would have been included in the above mentioned notes. I wish there had been a pronounciation guide for the names of the characters as well.
I would give the book 5 stars but for the problems I mentioned above. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the middle-ages, knights, chivalry, King Richard, etc…even if you have no particular interest in these things, you should at least give the book a chance. After all, it’s a classic and as with most classics, you can hardly ever go wrong.
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Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born and educated in Edinburgh. 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.
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