Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ivanhoe” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition


(Waverley Novels #5)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  89,918 ratings  ·  2,502 reviews
For this novel, Scott moved far away from the setting of his own turbulent time. He went back to the late 12th century, and to England rather than the Scottish settings of all his previous novels. He connected his writing Ivanhoe with his concerns about contemporary events.
Scott drew together the apparently opposing themes of historical reality and chivalric romance, socia
Paperback, Revised edition with critical apparatus (1st edition in Penguin: 1998), 496 pages
Published March 30th 2000 by Penguin Books /Penguin Classics (first published 1819)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ivanhoe, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Feisty Harriet No, they do not relate. They are the "Waverly" novels because Sir Walter Scott did not reveal he was the author as they were published. His first book…moreNo, they do not relate. They are the "Waverly" novels because Sir Walter Scott did not reveal he was the author as they were published. His first book was "Waverly," published anonymously, and the rest were listed "by the author of Waverly." Wikipedia has a list of when and where each of these books take place, they jump around a lot in history and location, and are not part of a series like we think of them today.

Kumari de Silva There are some odd words, especially ones that describe armor and weapons but I do believe that if you hear the story in context you'll be able to und…moreThere are some odd words, especially ones that describe armor and weapons but I do believe that if you hear the story in context you'll be able to understand the story(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  89,918 ratings  ·  2,502 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ivanhoe
Bill Kerwin
Oct 12, 2009 rated it really liked it

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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
(930 From 1001 Books) - Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels.

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.

Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon nobl
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
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
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
Amalia Gkavea
"Glory?" continued Rebecca; "alas, is the rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the champion's dim and mouldering tomb – is the defaced sculpture of the inscription which the ignorant monk can hardly read to the enquiring pilgrim – are these sufficient rewards for the sacrifice of every kindly affection, for a life spent miserably that ye may make others miserable? Or is there such virtue in the rude rhymes of a wandering bard, that domestic love, kindly affection, peace and happiness, ...more
It is hard to know what to say about Ivanhoe. It is part Robin Hood style adventure, part history and full of thematic richness. I was surprised that Ivanhoe himself figures into this tale somewhat sporadically. There are many characters who receive more in depth development, and the Jewess Rebecca is more fully developed than the heroine, Rowena.

The attitudes toward Jews in the novel make one uncomfortable in the same way that you feel when reading The Merchant of Venice. It is obvious that Sc
Helene Jeppesen
I have decided to put down this book and not finish it 2/3 of the way in, the reason being that while it was interesting to read about the old times of knights, tournaments and great battles at castles, it wasn't in any way interesting enough for me to keep on reading. I feel like being this far in, I've already gotten out of the story what I possibly could, and I don't really care about how everything's going to end.
Funnily enough, I was originally under the impression that this was going to b
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
“Hearken,” he (Brian de Bois-Guilbert) said, “Rebecca; I have hitherto spoken mildly to thee, but now my language shall be that of a conqueror. Thou art the captive of my bow and spear—subject to my will by the laws of all nations; nor will I abate an inch of my right, or abstain from taking by violence what thou refusest to entreaty or necessity.”
“Stand back,” said Rebecca—“which portion of “no” dost thou not comprehend? Kindly desist from thou crapulous Trumpery posthaste!”

Some of the above qu
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I'm in the middle of complaining to Joanne that some book, which I told Joanne before I started was probably going to be boring and stupid, is indeed boring and stupid, and I plan to complain about it being boring and stupid for the next week because it's also long, and Joanne says silly things like "Why would you even start a book that you think will be boring and stupid?" Ivanhoe is why! Sometimes I'm wrong. I thought Ivanhoe would be boring and stupid, but it's a blast.

Flesh Wounds
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, is set in England during the reign of King Richard , who is away on the Crusades to the Holy Land , leaving the administration of the country to his scheming brother , John , and his corrupt court cronies like Waldemar Fitzurse , Malvoisin and Front-de-Bouef.
Meanwhile a mysterious Disinherited Knight, aided by another anonymous Knight in black amour (Le Noir Fainéant) defeats all of King John's favorite knights at the jousting tournament at Ashby.
The challenger is reveal
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 of
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oh, this was very good. I'd read that Woolf loved Scott, and when I told an academic mentor that I was going to read it, she exclaimed, "I had SUCH a crush on Ivanhoe! I'll lend you my copy!" I went into it with high expectations and it delivered. Yes, it's full of lengthy description, but there is action and adventure, romance and politics, and is generally a thrill. I had to skim it, and ended up breezing through a lot of Scott's descriptions of clothing or setting, but as Allan Massie wrote i ...more
John Anthony
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Set in the reign of Richard I; the Lionheart being on crusade much of the time, leaving England to the mercy (no chance!) of his brother, the odious Prince John and some rather nasty Norman barons. I found it quite a page turner. Of particular interest to me was Scott's portrayal of relations between the subjugated and resentful English and their Norman conquerors. English = liberty, Norman = tyranny.

The position of the Jews in England is fascinating too and two of them have an important part in
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Paula W
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it took me quite a while to get used to the language and sentence structure, I really enjoyed this one. Ivanhoe is part adventure, part historical fiction, part romance, and all fun.

I can't help but wonder why the book is called Ivanhoe, though. The title character is certainly not the main character, nor even one of the better written characters. As a matter of fact, most of the characters didn't appear to be all that complex or interesting.

I vote we re-name this book Rebecca. Because
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
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Julie Davis
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I know I just listened to this book. But I figure if Harriet Beecher Stowe could read Ivanhoe seven times in one month, then I can reread it right away. Am enjoying it immensely - again!


I'm reading this for my book club (the adult equivalent of a high school reading assignment when it is for a book you've managed to avoid for years).

Consequently I listened to B.J. Harrison's excellent narration to help me get into the book. And it worked. I initially enjoyed it it on the level of
Sotiris Karaiskos
The book that accounts for most of the writer's reputation. In this he attempts to make a turn towards the past by writing a story that had as its model the medieval romance, as it would be written in the 12th or the 13th century. A story full of noble - and not so noble - knights, beautiful damsels - often in distress -, non-strict priests, witty servants, charming thieves, and much more of the character cast that one finds in this genre. This story is, of course, adventurous and exciting, exce ...more
May 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 &
Ivana Books Are Magic
Ivanhoe is a classic that is well worth reading for its historical significance alone. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the book itself, but I'm happy I read it. The writing isn't accessible and the characters lack dept, but Ivanhoe still proved an interesting read. I found Ivanhoe fascinating in many ways. First of all, the historical setting and the events it describes were quite completing. I understand that the novel isn't completely historically accurate, but I still think it can tea ...more
Lee  (the Book Butcher)
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Put down "lame of thrones" and pick up a true epic. ok, that was a little strong this book is not for everyone and hard for modern audiences to appreciate. once Considered one of the greatest novels ever printed in English. It's influence on the culture of the English speaking world is monumental. I might be true that the influences might have surpassed the masterwork in entertainment. Lord of the rings, Robin Hood, Princess Bride I could go on. Robin Hood for one is very popular in modern ente ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4 1/2 stars

I was a little chary of starting this one when I did as I'd recently finished The Mysteries of Udolpho and I wasn't all that keen on embarking on another long and sometimes boring read. This was meant to be set during the Age of Chivalry after all, I had great fears that there would be people declaiming right and left, maidenly honour being besmirched and people reading poetry as entertainment. In the fragile state I was in I wasn't sure I'd be able to cope. However I needed have worr
Douglas Wilson
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
On my short list of books I am actively reading, I include a "bucket book," defined as a book I really should have read by this time in my life, but which for various reasons, I have not. In this category, I just finished Ivanhoe, which I found quite enjoyable. I think it was also my first Scott novel. Fun. ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Be prepared. Sir Walter Scott will take you to an era with great detail and adventure. Ivanhoe contains a fascinating portrayal of the Saxon and Norman cultures and it has it all: magnificent battles, corrupt priests and abbots, estranged fathers and sons, Robin Hood, Richard the Lionhearted, Knights Templar... I love this book so much.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This. Was. Amazing.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Wamba is hysterical, Rebecca a true heroine, the writing style magnificent, and all the other characters admirable or detestable by turns. I really love this book. :)
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ivanhoe is a historical novel, a mix between fiction and reality, which fascinates the reader of any age and launches it into the past with incredible ease. If you read it, prepare for this effect.
The plot takes place in England at the end of 1100. The Norman king Richard "Lionheart", just returned from a Crusade, was captured in Austria, with the complicity of his brother, the greedy Giovanni Senzaterra. Giovanni Senzaterra, does the functions of regent, but wants to definitively obtain the thr
The book is entertaining, with lots of action and adventure. I found that the minor characters, like Gurth and Wamba, had more personality than the title character, Ivanhoe. In fact, the villains of the book were more interesting than the nominal hero.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Classics Illustrated UK Re-Issue 5 19 Aug 17, 2020 03:04AM  
Reading 1001: Ivanhoe 5 19 Jan 21, 2020 04:50AM  
How A Student Get His Diploma After Dropping Out From School. 1 3 Aug 16, 2019 08:06PM  
2020 SQHS Your Li...: ivanhoe 1 6 Jun 11, 2019 01:37PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong Book Cover 3 21 Aug 22, 2018 10:59AM  
Goodreads Librari...: add book cover and page count 1 16 Apr 19, 2018 10:43PM  
Sir Walter Scott ...: Background and reading schedule 5 7 Jul 28, 2017 06:03AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • The Black Arrow
  • Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
  • The Three Musketeers (The D'Artagnan Romances, #1)
  • The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)
  • Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe #1)
  • Pink Lady
  • Майстер корабля
  • Gulliver's Travels
  • Famine
  • Мина Мазайло
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Зачарована Десна
  • Treasure Island
  • Intermezzo
  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
  • Twenty Years After (The D'Artagnan Romances #2)
  • Fuori fuoco
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Sir Walter Alva 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, dram

Other books in the series

Waverley Novels (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Waverley
  • Guy Mannering
  • The Antiquary
  • Rob Roy
  • The Monastery
  • The Abbot, Volume 1 of 3
  • Kenilworth
  • The Pirate
  • The Fortunes of Nigel
  • Peveril of the Peak

News & Interviews

According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans....
42 likes · 26 comments
“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.” 120 likes
“We are like the herb which flourisheth most when trampled upon” 65 likes
More quotes…