Cover image for Robin Hood : a mythic biography
Title:
Robin Hood : a mythic biography
Author:
Knight, Stephen, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xxi, 247 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
she only figure in the Dictionary of National Biography who is said never to have existed, Robin Hood has taken on an air of reality few historical figures achieve. His image in various guises has been put to use as a subject of ballads, nationalist rallying point, Disney cartoon fox, greenclad figure of farce, tabloid fodder, and template for petty criminals and progressive political candidates alike. In this engaging and deeply informed book Stephen Knight looks at the different manifestations of Robin Hood at different times and places in a mythic biography with a thematic structure. The best way to get at the essence of the Robin Hood myth, Knight believes, is in terms not of chronological and generic progression but of the purposes served by heroes. Each of the book's four central chapters identifies a particular model of the hero, mythic or biographic, which dominated in certain periods and in certain genres, and explores their interrelations, their implications, and their historical and sociopolitical contexts.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780801438851
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The only figure in the Dictionary of National Biography who is said never to have existed, Robin Hood has taken on an air of reality few historical figures achieve. His image in various guises has been put to use as a subject of ballads, nationalist rallying point, Disney cartoon fox, greenclad figure of farce, tabloid fodder and template for petty criminals and progressive political candidates alike.


Author Notes

Stephen Knight is Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The mythical character of Robin Hood has become an icon through his presence in popular culture for the last 600 years. The Robin Hood that we know today-an altruistic figure, who along with his Merry Men robs from the rich to give to the poor-hasn't always been so. The character has undergone "endless variation in verbal and visual texts," according to Knight, a Robin Hood scholar. In this mythical biography, the evolution of the character from mere rogue to someone of noble birth is carefully examined, as is the addition of other standbys in the story, such as Maid Marion. The character of Robin Hood has been captured in many forms: poetry, verse, opera, theater, and, in recent decades, Hollywood films. Knight explains that to study Robin Hood through these artistic forms during different historical periods is akin to having a "guide to the changing patterns and dynamics of society and culture." Knight is extremely knowledgeable about his subject, but his book would really be of interest only to devout followers of this mythic character. Recommended for specialized academic collections.-Isabel Coates, CCRA-Toronto West Tax Office, Mississauga, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Note on Referencesp. xxi
Chapter 1 Bold Robin Hood
Bold and Strangep. 1
Glimpses of an Outlawp. 3
Gatherings of Robin Hoodp. 8
Rhymes of Robin Hoodp. 13
A Proud Outlawp. 21
Garlands for Robin Hoodp. 33
Chapter 2 Robert, Earl of Huntington
Toward a Lordp. 44
Dramatizing Gentrificationp. 49
The Noble Earl on Stagep. 52
A Lady for a Lordp. 58
Lord Robert's Originp. 63
Pastoral Lordshipp. 65
Gentrified Broadsidesp. 73
A Real Lord Robinp. 83
A Gentleman on the Eighteenth-Century Stagep. 89
Chapter 3 Robin Hood Esquire
Transmitting an Outlawp. 94
Romantic Yeomanp. 98
Lord of the Forestp. 119
A Novel Outlawp. 124
Outside the Mainstreamp. 142
Chapter 4 Robin Hood of Hollywood
The Outlaw on Screenp. 150
A Visual Imagep. 150
Varying the Patternp. 162
Alternative Screen Robinsp. 170
Robin Hood in Fictionp. 174
A Schoolchild's Herop. 174
The Outlaw in Historical Fictionp. 182
Marian Takes Overp. 185
History and Mythp. 193
Outlaw Identificationsp. 193
Outlaw Politicsp. 198
A Forest Spiritp. 202
How Many Robin Hoods?p. 204
Notesp. 211
Works Citedp. 231
Indexp. 241