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Woodstock; Or, the Cavalier by Sir Walter Scott, Fiction, Historical, Classics

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The noble seat, called Woodstock, is one of the ancient honors belonging to the crown. Several mannors owe suite and service to the place; but the custom of the countrey giving it but the title of a mannor, we shall erre with them to be the better understood. The mannor-house hath been a large fabric, and accounted amongst his majestie's standing houses, because there was The noble seat, called Woodstock, is one of the ancient honors belonging to the crown. Several mannors owe suite and service to the place; but the custom of the countrey giving it but the title of a mannor, we shall erre with them to be the better understood. The mannor-house hath been a large fabric, and accounted amongst his majestie's standing houses, because there was alwaies kept a standing furniture. This great house was built by King Henry the First, but ampleyfied with the gate-house and outsides of the outer-court, by King Henry the Seventh, the stables by King James. . . .


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The noble seat, called Woodstock, is one of the ancient honors belonging to the crown. Several mannors owe suite and service to the place; but the custom of the countrey giving it but the title of a mannor, we shall erre with them to be the better understood. The mannor-house hath been a large fabric, and accounted amongst his majestie's standing houses, because there was The noble seat, called Woodstock, is one of the ancient honors belonging to the crown. Several mannors owe suite and service to the place; but the custom of the countrey giving it but the title of a mannor, we shall erre with them to be the better understood. The mannor-house hath been a large fabric, and accounted amongst his majestie's standing houses, because there was alwaies kept a standing furniture. This great house was built by King Henry the First, but ampleyfied with the gate-house and outsides of the outer-court, by King Henry the Seventh, the stables by King James. . . .

30 review for Woodstock; Or, the Cavalier by Sir Walter Scott, Fiction, Historical, Classics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esdaile

    The strengths of Walter Scott's novels are character portrayal and vivid and highly demanding language and there is both aplenty in this account from the time of the English Revolution and First Commonwealth. This is a well told and straightforward (in plot, not language!) account of the future Charles' Second's escape from his pursuers. Both Cromwell and Charles Stuart (Charles II to be ) have roles in this tale, which is a vivid admixture of historical romance and historical fact. There is a s The strengths of Walter Scott's novels are character portrayal and vivid and highly demanding language and there is both aplenty in this account from the time of the English Revolution and First Commonwealth. This is a well told and straightforward (in plot, not language!) account of the future Charles' Second's escape from his pursuers. Both Cromwell and Charles Stuart (Charles II to be ) have roles in this tale, which is a vivid admixture of historical romance and historical fact. There is a superb gallery of highly colourful characters. In my Melrose edition, the tale is further enlivened by illustrations by contemporaries, or near contemporaries, of the novelist. I especially liked George Cruikshank's depiction of "Master Holdenough interrupted in his Vocation" and W.P. Frith's "Joceline Snatches a word with Phoebe Mayflower" . In his vivid depiction of character Scott resembles Dickens, who must I feel have been influenced by him. Like Dickens, Scott is also a deeply partisan writer. There is no mistaking where the novelist's sympathies lie in this book, but where I, heritically perhaps and certainly unfashionably, prefer Scott to Dickens, is that Scott never reverts to caricature. Characters portrayed sympathetically are not faultless. Sir Henry Lee, whom I suspect is to some extent a good humoured sketch by the writer of himself, is over hasty and oppressively dogmatic. He is caught out in his own prejudices by deeply admiring lines cited to him until he hears that the writer is the notorious regicide John Milton, whereupon, far from acknowledging his own prejudice, he reacts with violence to his nephew who cited the verse (not coincidentall theverse in question being from Comus, the subject of the poem being of course virtue threatened and virtue saved, which is very much a Scott leitmotif). The depiction of the deeply troubled Cromwell and the libertine with a conscience who is Charles Stewart in this story, convey a strong sense to me at least, of authenticity and plausibility. What frustrates me in Scott's novels is that I feel that had he been less of a commercial or popular writer or whatever it was that prompted a clearly intelligent man to write yarns which seldom tax the intelligence, he would have offered much more thought-provoking material than he in fact does. I found that this novel was remarkable in presenting the case for virtue not from the standpoint of fanatical puritanism (which quite obviously Scott abhorred) but as a civil virtue and the "right" course to follow, without reference to religious commandments or dogma, or the injuntions of a sky pilot! Master Tomkins, the Independent, and Seventh Day Adventist (I hope I've got that right) is shown to be a sectarian whose beliefs are a pretext, but not necessarily a conscious pretext, for justifying his own libertenage, which does not stop short of rape. This is potentially more profound than Dostoyevsky's "remove God and anything will be allowed" and could be, probably is, very religious in its consideration and insipration. However, Scott does not develop his own most interesting themes such as this and allows instead the thrill of the ripping yarn to shift aside troubling and thought provoking philsophical, ethical and religious issues, and that immediately after such an issue has first been raised. (We look for a build up of psychological tension in a novel by Walter Scott in vain!) Walter Scott is an extremely good writer. I am left with a slight feeling of regret however, the regret that he could, under different circumstances, have been a great one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    Okay, why has no one read this book?? It's even better than Ivanhoe in my opinion... anyway...! Okay, yeah, I'll admit to it, I found it in a box in my uncle attic, together with a load of other books he could not bear to trow away, but didn't need, like or whatever, anymore (I mean, who understands adults? this said by an adult, I'm 20, but I still ask this myself, sometimes). It is one of the less known works of Walter Scott, I gather, but I loved it. Spirits, war, prominent historical figures Okay, why has no one read this book?? It's even better than Ivanhoe in my opinion... anyway...! Okay, yeah, I'll admit to it, I found it in a box in my uncle attic, together with a load of other books he could not bear to trow away, but didn't need, like or whatever, anymore (I mean, who understands adults? this said by an adult, I'm 20, but I still ask this myself, sometimes). It is one of the less known works of Walter Scott, I gather, but I loved it. Spirits, war, prominent historical figures, love, adventure, kings, an happy-ending... there's all that a good book needs to get and keep my attention, so read it! Kisses all around!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    There are three periods of history which Scott clearly relished writing about: the 1745 Jacobite uprising in Scotland, the Civil War period of the 1640’s, and the Crusades. This is hugely enjoyable, not least because it gives Scott a chance to give us some excellent portrayals of both Cromwell and Charles II. Both characters are shown to have depth and nuance, and both are flawed – although it is always clear to us whose side Scott is on. There are some touches of cliché, of course, with romanti There are three periods of history which Scott clearly relished writing about: the 1745 Jacobite uprising in Scotland, the Civil War period of the 1640’s, and the Crusades. This is hugely enjoyable, not least because it gives Scott a chance to give us some excellent portrayals of both Cromwell and Charles II. Both characters are shown to have depth and nuance, and both are flawed – although it is always clear to us whose side Scott is on. There are some touches of cliché, of course, with romantic scenes in general and a death scene in particular. There is also a lot of comedy – Scott’s brilliant wit is often undervalued. I also enjoyed his wonderfully complete familiarity with the King James Bible. Those rolling cadences made a deep impression on me as a child, and I am so glad I was immersed in it through my upbringing and schooling. Immersion in that text opens a portal to a deeper understanding and enjoyment of so much English literature of the past. And Scott often uses it to comic effect when he sends up the Roundheads. When the wonderfully named Corporal Grace-be-Here Humgudgeon offers to assassinate the young King, he says – “Shall I not strike this son of a wicked father under the fifth rib, even as the tyrant of Moab was smitten by Ehud with a dagger of a cubit’s length?” The fact that the absurdly named Puritans are always speaking like this makes them richly comic – as well as sinister. (Humgudgeon is like the wonderfully repulsive Tribulation Wholesome in Jonson’s Alchemist, who says wonderfully funny things with an entirely straight face - such as “Thou look’st like Anti Christ in that lewd hat”). This novel was a great success with Scott’s public, though some of the more Puritanically inclined reviewers were – naturally enough - decidedly sniffy about it. This reminded me a bit of the film version of the Scarlet Pimpernel – another fun costume drama with the added bonus of winding up the humourless and Puritanical – who are just the sort who need their tails twisting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    Another masterful tale by Scott in the historical fiction genre, showing his mastery of plot structure, characterization, supernatural phenomena, historical elucidation and true comic hilarity. Set in 1649, in the days immediately following the execution of Charles I by the Roundhead forces led by Oliver Cromwell, the novel focuses on the attempts of Charles' son to escape England and thereby save his life. The locale of the title is a country lodge outside Oxford, which was used as a hunting ba Another masterful tale by Scott in the historical fiction genre, showing his mastery of plot structure, characterization, supernatural phenomena, historical elucidation and true comic hilarity. Set in 1649, in the days immediately following the execution of Charles I by the Roundhead forces led by Oliver Cromwell, the novel focuses on the attempts of Charles' son to escape England and thereby save his life. The locale of the title is a country lodge outside Oxford, which was used as a hunting base by the royal family. In fact, a legend tells how Henry II kept his lover, Rosamond, in a tower and commanded that subterranean passages be constructed so that he could visit her unbeknownst to his wife. The parliamentary forces have taken over this lodge and its grounds, and its permanent residents, Sir Henry Lee and his daughter Alice, are forced to vacate the premises as Commissioners arise to sequester (i.e., loot the place of any valuables) the building. A cousin of Alice's (and nephew of Henry's), Colonel Markham Everard, sends a communication to Oliver Cromwell requesting that the family be allowed to maintain their residence in the lodge. This missive is taken by Roger Wildrake, a character whose exuberance is only matched by his lack of mental ability and penchant for singing drunken songs. Cromwell's spoken responses to Wildrake are masterfully written, as Scott posits that when he spoke, Cromwell interposes such intricate qualifications that 'he was perhaps the most unintelligible speaker who ever perplexed an audience.' The Commissioners at the lodge are at this time beset by many, varied and unexplained experiences during the night: seemingly the work of malicious spirits. They themselves are not spared Scott's humorous bent: Desborough is a self-centered clod, Harrison a 'Fifth Monarchy' adherent, who believes that the Book of Revelations is currently being played out, while Bletson is a professed atheist who nonetheless is the most frightened by the nightly specters. Lee's son, Albert returns, along with a Scottish page, one Louis Kernagey, whose true identity as Charles Stewart (not Stuart) is very poorly disguised. His amorous and quite reprehensible pursuit of Alice set him at odds with Everard, and their attempt to fight a duel represents one highlight of the plot. Later, a similar affront to a lady's virtue takes place between Joseph Tomkins (a double agent) and Phoebe (a household maid), with fatal results. This death plays a critical part in the plans of Cromwell to capture Charles, and the final pages of high drama in the novel. True to form, Scott ties everything up with a satisfactory marriage, and an eventual return to England of the exiled King. The deaths of the patriarch and his dog are a bit much melodramatically, but still not out of place in this seminal work of historical romance. Very, very good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Stephenson

    Both the Lord Protector,Oliver Cromwell, and his very contrasting successor as head of state (after the Restoration), Charles II, figure as well developed characters in this engrossing story. Set in the title town (not far from Oxford) just after the two British civil wars ended with Cromwell victorious in battle (if less so in politics), two cousins of a family wrenched apart by the divisive controversies of the time find it well nigh impossible to accomplish the marital union they have long co Both the Lord Protector,Oliver Cromwell, and his very contrasting successor as head of state (after the Restoration), Charles II, figure as well developed characters in this engrossing story. Set in the title town (not far from Oxford) just after the two British civil wars ended with Cromwell victorious in battle (if less so in politics), two cousins of a family wrenched apart by the divisive controversies of the time find it well nigh impossible to accomplish the marital union they have long contemplated. Markham Everard threw in his lot with Cromwell and Alice Lee's father, Sir Henry Lee is an unreconstructed Royalist who has taught his only daughter to revere the crown.Although Scott satirizes both sides (particularly the clergy) his sympathies are evidently with the monarchy-tolerant readers of his English public. However his intent is just as evident: to encourage and glorify reconciliation, mutual respect and forgiveness. Even an unreconstructed Republican such as myself with plenty of "round-head" tendencies can fall in sincerely with these praiseworthy intentions. Scott's superb artistry made me care about his characters so that when the final melodramatic climax arrived I was captivated even knowing from history how the story must end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    I cannot understand how Sir Walter could write tripe like 'The Talisman' then follow it up with a wonderful tale like this. One of his great strengths was the portrayal of historical figures, and in this story of the aftermath of the English Civil War, both Oliver Cromwell and the young Charles II are brought to life in a totally believable way. There's a wonderful mad cavalier, some ranting Roundheads, a feisty heroine and a wonderful dog. The story is page-turningly exciting, although obviousl I cannot understand how Sir Walter could write tripe like 'The Talisman' then follow it up with a wonderful tale like this. One of his great strengths was the portrayal of historical figures, and in this story of the aftermath of the English Civil War, both Oliver Cromwell and the young Charles II are brought to life in a totally believable way. There's a wonderful mad cavalier, some ranting Roundheads, a feisty heroine and a wonderful dog. The story is page-turningly exciting, although obviously one knows the outcome, and the end is genuinely moving. It's the best Scott I've read, and that's most of them. Can't wait to which end of the spectrum 'Chronicles of the Canongate' lands on!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zandra

    I found this a most enjoyable read. I love the way Scott's story turns on the conflicting religious and political perspectives of men and women at the time of the English Civil War, and how he also shows these individuals as fallible, inconsistent, funny and humane. I found it fascinating that Cromwell and Charles Stewart both had central roles in the story: the way Scott portrayed them as each powerful yet with weaknesses felt true to life. And I enjoyed the fact that two strong women character I found this a most enjoyable read. I love the way Scott's story turns on the conflicting religious and political perspectives of men and women at the time of the English Civil War, and how he also shows these individuals as fallible, inconsistent, funny and humane. I found it fascinating that Cromwell and Charles Stewart both had central roles in the story: the way Scott portrayed them as each powerful yet with weaknesses felt true to life. And I enjoyed the fact that two strong women characters stood up for their dignity and refused to be cowered. And through this mix of funny, flawed people Scott explores the question of whether kings should be respected for having a divine right to rule. Somehow Scott managed to convince me that even a prince who is a vain unprincipled womaniser should rule.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Even

    Unexceptional within the Scott canon. The story centers around the aftermath of the English Revolution, and takes place in and arouind the royal hunting lodge of Woodstock. Scott takes a story of parlimentary agenst being driven from the royal lodge by supernatural forces, and fleshes it out. Nothing really novel here from Scott. A perfect hero and heroine living through a turbulent period in English history, colorful minor characters, some cameos by historical figures. It will entertain fans of Unexceptional within the Scott canon. The story centers around the aftermath of the English Revolution, and takes place in and arouind the royal hunting lodge of Woodstock. Scott takes a story of parlimentary agenst being driven from the royal lodge by supernatural forces, and fleshes it out. Nothing really novel here from Scott. A perfect hero and heroine living through a turbulent period in English history, colorful minor characters, some cameos by historical figures. It will entertain fans of Scott, but no blow them away. Woodstock would probably been a more effective drama if more attention had been paid to the machinations of the various politicl parties and less to the predictable romantic conflict.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert Hepple

    Published in 1826, Woodstock is a historical adventure based on the fictional premise that Charles II briefly went to ground in Woodstock during his flight following the defeat a Worcester. The first half of the novel proceeds at a snail's pace, and only speeds up a little in the second half, before picking up a little more pace in the last 50 pages. I put this down to the thin storyline being spread over too many pages - a decent editor would have been generous with the blue pencil and could ha Published in 1826, Woodstock is a historical adventure based on the fictional premise that Charles II briefly went to ground in Woodstock during his flight following the defeat a Worcester. The first half of the novel proceeds at a snail's pace, and only speeds up a little in the second half, before picking up a little more pace in the last 50 pages. I put this down to the thin storyline being spread over too many pages - a decent editor would have been generous with the blue pencil and could have reduced this to a better paced novella.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I loved the story, but had difficulty with the old world language (olde English) at first. As I progressed in the story, the context helped to decipher the unfamiliar terms. A huge dictionary helped too. Sir Walter Scott is definitely worth the challenge. I loved the loyalty, honor and friendship portrayed by the characters. His stories have history, romance, suspense, and happy endings. I am currently reading two more of his novels.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Like many classics this book takes a while to really get going, but once it does it has romance, adventure, intrigue, as well as interesting moral dilemmas. It is historical fiction with Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell as prominent characters. I really liked it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Loved the story and the political and historical insights.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I listened to the recording on Libravox.org Last Sir Walter Scott book I read was Ivanhoe in elementary school. I was curious what I'd liked. This is a pretty juvenile historical novel set in a real time in history. I liked this type of book better when I was 10. Now, if rather read the actual history, and save the Dixon reading for top writers. I listened to the recording on Libravox.org Last Sir Walter Scott book I read was Ivanhoe in elementary school. I was curious what I'd liked. This is a pretty juvenile historical novel set in a real time in history. I liked this type of book better when I was 10. Now, if rather read the actual history, and save the Dixon reading for top writers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson

    A lovely but not excellent novel. The ending was more beautiful than I expected. Rarely am I choked up after reading!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jean Blackwood

  16. 4 out of 5

    Max Rosenzweig

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luca Battistelli

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven Doughty

  19. 4 out of 5

    imngrer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Phoebs

  21. 5 out of 5

    LeRoy E. Ostrus

  22. 4 out of 5

    Javier Lopez

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  25. 5 out of 5

    grace

  26. 5 out of 5

    elic

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karl Hickey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andy Kline

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Violet

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