Reading Robin Hood: Content, form and reception in the outlaw myth (Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture MUP)

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9780719095269: Reading Robin Hood: Content, form and reception in the outlaw myth (Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture MUP)

Reading Robin Hood explores and explains stories about the mythic outlaw - a figure who always represents the values of natural law and stands up for true justice - from the middle ages to the present.

While a few books have described the outlaw myth, usually in its earlier forms, and occasional academic essays have commented on elements of the Robin Hood story, this is the first in-depth analysis of the whole sequence and the varying elements of the adventures of Robin Hood. First, it explores the medieval tradition from early poems into the long-surviving sung ballads - and also two major early developments, the Scottish version of the outlaw hero, here called Rabbie Hood, and then around 1600 the gentrified Robin, the exiled Earl of Huntington, created by socially aspirational writers and partnered by Lady Marian.

Medievalism passed into memory, and early nineteenth-century Romantic authors, followed by novelists, re-imagined Robin, as strongly involved with nature, deeply in love with Marian, definitely English, not Norman or French, and representing in the time of reform the rights of the ordinary man. That fitted Robin for the modern world, but he did not stop developing.

In film, he has stood up for international Western values - even those of a crusader - and the modern Marian plays a much more substantial role: here for the first time she has a chapter to herself. The multiple Robin Hood myth flourishes, continuously producing new forms for the hero's story, and new understandings of his meaning.

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About the Author:


Stephen Knight is a Research Professor in English Literature at the University of Melbourne, Australia

Review:


"Knight has probably done more than anyone to shine the light of serious critical understanding on the Robin Hood material for scholars, students, and enthusiasts alike." - John Marshall, Arthuriana, Volume 26, Number 2, Summer 2016, pp. 141-143


"Knight has once again produced a detailed, scholarly text that is sure to be of use to Robin Hood scholars for years to come, and my own research owes a debt to Stephen Knight for having made the later tradition a serious area of scholarly inquiry." - International Association for Robin Hood Studies, December 2016


"... a field that owes its success to his efforts. As a scholar who has hitherto primarily encountered Stephen Knight's scholarship on Arthurian texts, his description of trying to form a course on Robin Hood may sound familiar to anyone who has pitched a "Special Topics" class on material they think should receive special attention. He makes the interdisciplinary, wide-ranging secondary work on Robin Hood sound like an exhilarating and viable alternative to the more conventional avenues of traditional scholarly work. In an academic market that necessitates scholars legitimizing themselves by any means necessary, Knight provides a compelling if optimistic model for how Robin Hood studies has legitimized itself and may continue to do so." - James Howard, The Georgia Institute of Technology, Robin hood scholars blogspot


"In his usual meticulous style, Knight draws together disparate threads of scholarship within this rhizomatic field of study, his distinct voice containing not only the attention to detail that one has come to expect from him but also a clear and unabashed enthusiasm for the subject matter." - Sabina Rahman, University of Sydney, Medievally speaking, November 2016


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