Hailed by Victor Hugo as "the real epic of our age," Ivanhoe was an immensely popular bestseller when first published in 1819. The book inspired literary imitations as well as paintings, dramatizations, and even operas. Now Sir Walter Scott's sweeping romance of medieval England has prompted a lavish
new television production.
In the twelfth century, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe returns home to England from the Third Crusade to claim his inheritance and the love of the lady Rowena. The heroic adventures of this noble Saxon knight involve him in the struggle between Richard the Lion-Hearted and his malignant brother John: a conflict that brings Ivanhoe into alliance with the
mysterious outlaw Robin Hood and his legendary fight for the forces of good.
"Scott's characters, like Shakespeare's and Jane Austen's, have the seed of life in them," observed Virginia Woolf. "The emotions in which Scott excels are not those of human beings pitted against other human beings, but of man pitted against
Nature, of man in relation to fate. His romance is the romance of hunted men hiding in woods at night; of brigs standing out to sea; of waves breaking in the moonlight; of solitary sands and distant horsemen; of violence and suspense." For Henry James, "Scott was a born
storyteller. . . . Since Shakespeare, no writer has created so immense a gallery of portraits."
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Romance eBook: Ivanhoe|
|Release Date: 08-29-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Such being our chief scene, the date of our story refers to a period towards the end of the reign of Richard I., when his return from his long captivity had become an event rather wished than hoped for by his despairing subjects, who were in the meantime subjected to every species of subordinate oppression. The nobles, whose power had become exorbitant during the reign of Stephen, and whom the prudence of Henry the Second had scarce reduced into some degree of subjection to the crown, had now resumed their ancient license in its utmost extent; despising the feeble interference of the English Council of State, fortifying their castles, increasing the number of their dependants, reducing all around them to a state of vassalage, and striving by every means in their power to place themselves each at the head of such forces as might enable him to make a figure in the national convulsions which appeared to be impending.
The situation of the inferior gentry, or franklins, as they were called, who, by the law and spirit of the English constitution, were entitled to ho...