Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

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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 and the 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, to explore 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.

About Sir Walter Scott

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Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of a writer. As a young boy, he contracted polio and was sent to his grandfather's farm to recuperate. While there, he came to know and love the Border country, which figures prominently in his work. Scott began his literary career by writing metrical tales. "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," "Marmion," and "The Lady of the Lake" made him the most popular poet of his day. Sixty-five hundred copies of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" were sold in the first three years, a record sale for poetry. His later romances in verse, "The Vision of Don Roderick," "Rokeby," and "The Lord of the Isles," met with waning interest owing to the rivalry of Byron, whose more passionate poetic romances superseded Scott's in the public favor. Scott then abandoned poetry for prose. In 1814 he anonymously published a historical novel, Waverly, or, Sixty Years Since, the first of the series known as the Waverley novels. He wrote 23 novels anonymously during the next 13 years. The first master of historical fiction, Scott wrote novels that are historical in background rather than in character: A fictitious person always holds the foreground. In their historical sequence, the Waverley novels range in setting from the year 1090, the time of the First Crusade, to 1700, the period covered in St. Roman's Well (1824), set in a Scottish watering place. Scott wrote novels covering every period of European history from the eleventh to nineteenth centuries, except the thirteenth century. Scott's last years were plagued by illness, yet in 1831 and 1832 he toured the Mediterranean aboard a government frigate. He died at Abbotsford soon after his return and was buried in the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey.
Published April 4, 1996 by OUP Oxford. 625 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Romance, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, History, Horror, Travel, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Comics & Graphic Novels. Non-fiction

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A Saxon knight who has just returned from the Crusades and is still loyal to Richard Plantagenet.

Oct 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Ivanhoe

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