Walter Scott's “Ivanhoe” as a Great Example of English Novel
Dictionary defines the term novel as ”A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.” The novel, therefore, developed as a piece of prose fiction that presented characters in real-life events and situations. Novel as a literary genre emerged in the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is an important part of English literature. Even these days, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding ones knowledge and understanding of the world. The rise in literacy level has contributed towards the rise of the English novel.
A great novel often seems to describe an entire society, creating a vivid image of the relationships among whole classes of people. It‟s no wonder that novels are frequently described as the forerunners of modern ethnographies and social histories. Novels evolved from the Romantic period to become the leading literary genre during the Victorian period. Well, these changes can be mainly seen through the evolvement of historical novel, novels of manners and realistic fiction.
The first type of novel evolved is historical novel. Those novels are of historical based. The contents in which the stories are set always have historical bases. Some characters are created and others really existed. It has clear description of the time, society and places. The narrator is in the third person and is out of the story. It is usually told in chronological order but with frequent flashbacks. Historical novels are not only set in the past but may also take place against the backdrop of real-life events. In some cases, important historical figures may even appear as characters.
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was first and foremost a storyteller of this kind of novel. One of the most important works written by Scott is ”Ivanhole”. Ivanhoe takes place during the crucial historical moment just after Richard’s landing in England, before the king has revealed himself to the nation. Throughout the novel, Richard travels in disguise. The emphasis of the book is on the conflict between the Saxons and the Normans. Ivanhoe–a Saxon knight loyal to a Norman king emerges as a model of how the Saxons can adapt to life in Norman England. But more outstanding than any metaphor in Ivanhoe is the book’s role as an adventure story, which is by far its most important aspect. With its scenes of jousting knights, burning castles, and damsels in distress, Ivanhoe is one of the most popular historical romances of all time.
In the nutshell, novel has its place not only in the past but even today. Reading novels allows us to gain access to deeply imagined lives other than our own. Great novels could strengthen our moral muscles. Stories organize us culturally and emotionally. They offer us the opportunity to develop wisdom. Stories stretch our minds and help to grow our moral capacity. Literature, especially the novel is infused in school curriculum, mainly to provide variety and motivation and can be a vehicle for developing analytical skills. It gives students the opportunity to read and analyze longer text selections, important for the developmental student who usually lacks extensive reading practice. Novelist such as Walter Scott with his “Ivanhoe” had made great contribution to the English literature. His novel is popular and widely read even today and preferred by all the age level.
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