Book Review

IvanhoeIvanhoe by Walter Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hard to get past the anti-semitism. Scott is incapable of mentioning Isaac "the Jew" without also commenting on his avarice. Literally. Every time. And Isaac is not a minor character--he's in virtually every chapter. On the other hand, Isaac's daughter Rebecca is a great female character. Her Saxon counterpart, Rowena, is quite flat in contrast. Ivanhoe is also pretty flat. There is very little insight into his or Rowena's emotional experience of the events of the book, particularly when you compare them to Isaac and Rebecca. So why am I giving it four stars? Because there are scenes in here that are unparalleled, any of which could alone justify Scott's reputation. E.g., Friar Tuck and Richard Plantagenet stepping carefully--and belligerently--into an acquaintance that quickly leads to a drunken sing-a-long before the altar of St. Dunstan.

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