”Ivanhoe” is the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a time when the English nobility was overwhelmingly Norman. It follows the Saxon protagonist, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who is out of favour with his father for his allegiance to the Norman king, Richard I of England. The story is set in 1194, after the failure of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by the Duke of Austria on his way back, was believed to still be in the arms of his captors. The legendary Robin Hood, initially under the name of Locksley, is also a character in the story, as are his ”merry men”. The character that Scott gave to Robin Hood in Ivanhoe helped shape the modern notion of this figure as a cheery noble outlaw.
The novel is sometimes credited for increasing interest in romance and medievalism; John Henry Newman claimed Scott ”had first turned men's minds in the direction of the middle ages,” while Carlyle and Ruskin made similar assertions of Scott's overwhelming influence over the revival based primarily on the publication of this novel.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 - 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time. Deriving most of his material from his native Scotland, its history and its legends, Scott invented and mastered what we know today as the historical novel.
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