I read Ivanhoe and Waverly about 20 years ago and wish that I could find my Penguin editions now: this edition would seem to lack the many (many and detailed!) end notes (which, as I recall, Scott included with the work). Without same end notes, I believe this work lacks the appropriate (prescribed!) historical context and is uninterpretable.
A true classic, written in the early 1800's, but relevant as long as men wish good to triumph over evil. Scott's style takes breaking into, as it should considering the language's evolution over the last 200 years. But once you have, it's as rich a tapestry of medieval life as one can find anywhere.
This is the third time I've read the book, and I've probably seen the film a dozen times, and never seem to tire of it. This time, however, has had a special reward: Instead of having to guess or refer to a dictionary to understand archaic words no longer used or whose meaning has changed over the centuries, reading it on a Kindle, with a readily available, built-in dictionary has made this a special treat. I recommend it without reservation.
This was a challenge read for me but well worth the extra time spent on it. The author has command of the English language and is quite the loquacious writer. I felt it was not a simple story with a hero, but a time in history which incorporates the different peoples of England with church, nobles and the peasantry. The author has been fastidious in his research for the time period in which the story takes place and in the end of the book has listed notes of his historic information and footnotes. This is a story of Chivalry so it includes Knights, battles and historic characters as well as the famous legendary Robin Hood. I also found some humor along the way. The author also has many phrases in Latin and French and I really learned some history in the process of reading. I was highly entertained.
Don't get me wrong. I love IVANHOE. And in any case, Sir Walter Scott will not be harmed by my one star. The ONE STAR is for this unfortunate edition. First, it's on 8.5 x 11'' paper making this book enormous and ridiculously heavy. But that isn't the deal breaker, the lack of book design is. Somebody dumped a royalty free book into a word processor, and spilled it clumsily onto a bunch of pages, using a sans serif font (really!!!!????) It's impossible to read because of the leading and kerning. Buyer beware.
I enjoyed this book. It was written just about 200 years ago and set the story of prejudice, bigotry, honor, and bravery into the 12th century with the likes of King Richard the Lionhearted, dastardly Prince John, brave Robin of Lochsley, and of course, the courageous and righteous Wilfrid/Ivanhoe. It is a rousing story, however it bogs down with the telling. The conversations drone on and on with lots of "mayhaps", "perchance", "methinks", and various Latin phrases, etc. thrown in. Yes, it is possibly true that people spoke that way a thousand years ago, but it sometimes makes for difficult reading and comprehension. Overall though, I give this book four stars because it is a good story. To read about the plight of specific downtrodden people in merry old England is a bit of an eye-opener. And to see that certain characters can set aside these prejudices and do "what's right" makes this a good story. This isn't the Hollywood movie version, even though the movie does follow the story, that concentrates more on swordplay and knights in armor to stirring martial music. This is more subtle and deals more with people, personalities, and inner strength.
This version of the Ivanhoe book is very difficult to read (the paperback version with the burgundy and gold cover). The pages are 8.5"x11", single-spaced, with tiny fonts. Some pages have zero paragraph breaks, which are also single-spaced. As an adult, I find it extremely difficult to keep track of which line I am currently on, without marking each line as I read them. I purchased this book for a teen, who is completely put off by this layout. The publisher's name is not printed anywhere in, or on, the book.
Those who have seen the movie will see here how the movie took great liberty with this story by Sir Walter Scott. Lots of history, and an interesting story. Well worth reading this classic novel of England at the time of Richard I, Richard the Lion-hearted. Although they are not central to this story, it is interesting how the various familiar characters from the Robin Hood legend appear here --- Robin of Locksley, Alan-a-Dale, Friar Tuck, and the band of Outlaws. Good story and a classic novel! Rich in mediaeval history and the history of England in the days of Richard Plantagenet, his brother John (ultimately of Magna Carts fame), and the early days after the Norman conquest and battles with the Saxons.