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Ivanhoe

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  52,487 ratings  ·  1,244 reviews
Set at the time of the Norman Conquest, this novel discusses Ivanhoe's return from the Crusades to claim his inheritance and the love of Rowena and his involvement in the struggle between Richard Coeur de Lion and his Norman brother John. It is structured by a series of conflicts: Saxon versus Norman, Christian versus Jew, and men versus women.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1819)
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Best Historical Fiction
60th out of 4,239 books — 17,707 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miriam
In Ivanhoe, Scott skillfully undermines the alienating characteristics of the medieval gothic while taking advantage of its familiarity to and popularity with nineteenth-century audiences. Although containing elements reminiscent of the earlier gothic, such as the corruption and intrigue of religious orders, the madness of Ulrica and the burning alive of Front-de-Beouf in his castle, it also pokes fun at some of the wilder elements of this genre: the resurrected phantom of Athelstane, for instan...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I love(d) this book and was torn between 4 and 5 stars. Can we call it 4.5? Heck, let's just say 5! I read it first long ago and it holds up well over the years (its and yours). A classic for a reason.

You'll find synopsis after synopsis here and elsewhere. But if you like adventure, heroism, romance, loyalty, betrayal...any or all of the above you won't go wrong here.

King Richard the Lion Heart...Robin Hood (Locksley)...Knights Templar...Saxons vs. Normans...Gentiles vs. Jews....Knights from the...more
Werner
Mar 17, 2014 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction in the Romantic style
Note, March 17, 2014: I posted this review some time ago, but just finished tweaking the language in one sentence to clarify a thought.

Obviously, this novel won't be every reader's cup of tea: the author's 19th-century diction will be too much of a hurdle for some, those who define novels of action and adventure as shallow will consider it beneath them, and those who want non- stop action will be bored by Scott's serious effort to depict the life and culture of his medieval setting. But those wh...more
Bill  Kerwin

I believe Ivanhoe just misses being a great novel for two reasons. First of all, its characters, although not without subtlety, lack depth. (The exception to the rule is the “Jewess” Rebecca). Secondly, Scott’s style—at least as demonstrated here—suffers from a wordiness that continually dissipates the novel’s power. It is nevertheless an impressive achievement, original in conception, rich in themes, formidable in architecture, and powerful in its effects.
Brad
Ivanhoe. Seriously?! Could there be a more arbitrary title to any famous book in the English language? It would be like naming Lost "Benjamin Linus," or naming the original Dragonlance Chronicles "Caramon Majere." This isn't a book about Ivanhoe, it's a book with Ivanhoe in it.

Sir Walter Scott must have been sitting around his room with his D&D dice to come up with Ivanhoe.

Random Title List for Unnamed Book I Just Finished Writing About King Richard's Return From the Crusades and the Defeat...more
Bruce
This is a novel that, as I understand it, almost single-handedly revived the popularity of medieval chivalry and heroism in 19th century literature . . . and life. The culture of the American South profoundly admired Scott's world view. Stories like Ivanhoe were spiritual fuel to their sense of honor and privilege.

Also, with Scott, a major branch of literature was consolidated which in his time was beginning to be distinguished by the intelligentsia from "serious literature." His literary heirs...more
Penny
I read this for a college literature course, and I remember being one of the few people in the class who liked it. I remember my professor even admitted to not liking it very well.

I found it delightful, in the same way Robin Hood and King Arthur tales are delightful. You have to have an appreciation for the whimsical, though, and not take anything too seriously.

It's probably no coincidence that I liked this novel and I also still read YA fiction at my advanced age.

UPDATE: I just watched the A &...more
Randyn
normally I don't like it when protagonists in books are anachronistically liberal and unprejudiced, but I would have made an exception for this story. In fact, I remember as a kid creating elaborate scenarios in my head where Ivanhoe runs off with the Jewish Rebecca instead of staying with the English Rowena. In fact, reading it this time around, I almost found myself liking the villain Brian du Bois-Guillbert. He might have been evil, but at least he was able to step outside of the prejudices o...more
Jessi
It took me a long time to read this despite being very diligent about it. I rented it from the library, and woe, I had to re-check it out after 2 weeks. It was frustrating because I originally started reading it in order to take up the time it would take for the library to get in the other books I wanted to read. The problem wasn't the story, it was the old-ish language used. The fact that the book was insanely thick with small print didn't help matters either. I do have to say I have grown very...more
Emily
Ha! I finally finished it! Ivanhoe was great but it was definitely slow going for me. The author sometimes could get quite long winded while describing things which made it much too easy to put down. I've wanted to read this book ever since I saw the Ivanhoe episode of Wishbone as a kid. So, I have finally done it. I hesitate somewhat to mark this as historical fiction because it's definitely more fiction than historical but Sir Walter Scott is considered the "father of historical fiction".

Two...more
April
I can see now, after having read Ivanhoe, where most of our notions of the medieval ways and of Robin Hood originated. It seemed at once both familiar and foreign jumping into this book. I could see the beginnings of certain conventions — and the glaring lack, as well. It reminded me both of the Canterbury tales and of old Hollywood movies; it was actually kind of weird.

It begins with two minor characters, for instance, and not the main character, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is actually introduced somewhat...more
Kelley
So much fun! I LOVED this book! It was by no means a quick read for me - probably took about a month because I had to find time to really concentrate, not just skim it while multi-tasking ten other things as I usually do. Still, what a joy! The introduction of this particular edition says that Ivanhoe is probably Sir Walter Scott's worst-written novel. I can't imagine what the other ones were like because I thought Ivanhoe was perfect.

One thing I didn't love at first, or at least had to get us...more
El
Good gravy, I've had Ivanhoe on my literary back burner for longer than I can remember. I love a romping good adventure story, but when I say that I mean things like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again, The Odyssey or The Princess Bride. I like my adventure stories to have... adventure. I expected adventure in Ivanhoe since it often falls into the same category as a lot of other swashbuckling adventures, filled with exci...more
Elaine
Jun 10, 2008 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robin Hood and Sir Walter Scott lovers and anybody who likes a good classic.
Recommended to Elaine by: I read it for a book club
Review from 2006

Gallant knights, outlaws, suspense, reclaim of honor, love, burning castles, flying lances, strange French names, distressed Jews, Norman against Saxon, humor...all this makes Ivanhoe a fun and exciting story (I also found it a bit confusing at times). It's cool the way it's written with all of the thous and thees. One of my favorite lines is when Wilfred of Ivanhoe says, “If I could but drag myself to yonder window...” What happened to, “If I could walk over to that window”? I...more
Nikki
I read Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe when I was very young, so reading it again now for a class was quite interesting. It was odd how much I remembered once I actually got started -- and strange the things that I didn't remember, like the fact that Robin Hood is in it!

Reading it now, halfway through the course, it staggered me how very typical it is of a Robin Hood text, and how much it reminded me of Chaucer, too. It's like some bizarre cross between an Arthurian text (with all the jousting and t...more
Laura
I re-reading of a classic by Walter Scott, specially R3's participation into the plot.

I just watched the movie Ivanhoe (1952) based on this classic book which served of inspiration to many historical fiction books after its publication.



Stars: Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders among others.
Célia
Antes de passar à opinião propriamente dita, tenho de falar sobre a edição portuguesa do Ivanhoe que tenho. Comprei-a em 2008 no hipermercado Continente, dentro daquelas publicações da Book.it de clássicos a preço convidativo. Já tinha lido As Aventuras de Tom Sawyer da mesma coleção e nada me desagradou, mas desta vez tenho dificuldades em encontrar algo de positivo para além do preço. Bastou-me ler o primeiro capítulo para decidir que não conseguia continuar a ler aquela tradução e que optaria...more
Rachel
I'm not sure if it was the neglected corner of our tiny library with it's vintage bound classic literature, or the old, worn cover of the pocket size edition that fit perfectly in my hands, or my need for depth after a summer of easy read, YA fiction, that initially drew me to it's 800+ pages, but whatever it was, Ivanhoe sunk it's claws in and I couldn't escape. I had to renew the book three times and use all kinds of self discipline to ignore the other books that kept beckoning me during my th...more
Lisa
This was my first taste of the works of Sir Walter Scott and what a great taste it turned out to be!

Set in a romanticised Medieval England during the reign of Richard the Lion Heart, the story is one of adventure, romance, action, plotting, revenge and chivalry, all tied up together to form a good, old-fashioned romp. The titular Wilfred of Ivanhoe is a Saxon who finds himself banished from England after seeking to marry his father's beautiful ward without permission. Joining the Crusades to the...more
Dan Winsky

Reading the Classics : High Adventure in Merry Ol’ England

"Chivalry! Why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection, the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant. Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword."

Ah! This month’s Reading the Classics has been a breath of fresh air! Not that last month was too stuffy (though it was a bit stuffy). But this month, once again, I retu...more
Jasmin
This is my favourite book of all time. It took me just over a month to complete it the first time back when I was in school; and I read at least a chapter every day! But I was studying for my classes too... nowadays it doesn't take me that long to get through it.

Every time I read it, it reawakens the joy of first discovery. The legend of Robin Hood is about as exciting as turning on a lightbulb when compared with the saga of Ivanhoe, which, to continue the simile, is like lighting a firework. O...more
Valerie Kyriosity
Four stars for adventure. One for characters and for a weird mix of stomach-churning anti-Semitism and no real grasp of the qualitative differences between Christianity and Judaism. I was almost going to give him an "it was the times" pass on some of that until we got to the character of Lucas de Beaumanoir, the grand master of the Templars. I thought maybe Scott was on to something when he was able to paint that evil hypocrite so well that other wicked characters looked positively sympathetic b...more
Angie Bollard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
سارة درويش
تحتاج في البداية تركيز شديد كي تندمج معها لكن بمجرد أن تندمج مع الأحداث لن تتركها من يدك

اعجبتني جداَ جداً حبكتها واحداثها التي تنم عن ذكاء كاتب يحترم ذكاء القارئ :)

اعتقد انها من الكتب التي من الممكن ان أقرأها أكثر من مرة :)
John Leavens
One book, one tent, 2 guys on Denali for 3 weeks. We would read this aloud to make it last longer. I turned out to be an excellent way to enjoy this book
Sarah
A classic; very much worth the read. Though I did come close to metaphorically hurling it across the room at least once.
Bruce
Sir Walter Scott is commonly considered the father of the historical novel, his Waverley novels consisting of a series of twenty-two works of which Ivanhoe is one. Published in 1819, this novel is based on events from the end of the 12th century, during the time when Richard Lion-Heart returned from the Crusades to reclaim his kingship of England from his younger brother and caretaker during his absence, Prince John of Anjou. Throughout the work Scott is acutely aware of the continuing rivalry b...more
Kathleen
Well that was fun, and really interesting. Walter Scott spins out a tale for the ages, a classic that has entertained since its publication in 1819. The novel begins with Cedric, the proud and fiery Saxon lord having to extend the courtesy of his hall to a Knight Templar and a traveling abbott, both of whom he resents but is obliged to feast. He is gruff and ill-suited to the task, since his passions run against the current rulers of England, to the point of disinheriting his son Ivanhoe for fol...more
Greg Deane

“Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott is an enjoyable read for those who enjoy tales of chivalry and of those villains who seek to thwart its code. It is written at the time the wicked Prince John was regent, and the valiant King Richard was thought to be on Crusade in the Holy Land, fighting against the rapacious Saracens. In England hostilities have intensified between the Normans and Saxons, the latter tired of repression and discrimination that has not diminished since 1066.

The eponymous hero, Ivan...more
Briynne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please delete this series 3 27 Sep 07, 2014 02:21AM  
Classics? 5 44 Jun 27, 2014 01:26PM  
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Just Literature: Ivanhoe 1 7 Apr 15, 2014 04:45AM  
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A Widow Searches for a Lost Love 1 20 Sep 13, 2013 02:10PM  
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Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott created and popularized historical novels in a series called the Waverley Novels. In his novels Scott arranged the plots and characters so the reader enters into the lives of both great and ordinary people caught up in violent, dramatic...more
More about Walter Scott...
Rob Roy Waverley The Talisman The Lady of the Lake The Bride of Lammermoor

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“For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.” 51 likes
“Chivalry!---why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection---the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant ---Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword.” 30 likes
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