Johnson’s Lives of the Highwaymen was part of one of the most popular genres of early eighteenth-century literature: the criminal biography.
The word ‘rogue’ was not invented until the 1560s.
Criminal biographers were so committed to historical accuracy that they gave us The Life of the notorious highwayman, Sir John Falstaff.
“The Noble Birth and Gallant Atchievements of that Remarkable Out-Law Robin Hood. Together with a True Account of the Many Merry and Extravagant Exploits he Play’s in Twelve Several Stories” (1662)
In 1863 a reporter decided to experience what it was like to spend Christmas Day amongst the felons in Newgate.
John Dryden (1631-1700) is a significant figure in the literary history of the 17th century. In the Sixth Part of his Miscellany Poems he included an old ballad of Robin Hood. This post seeks to explain why he did this.
William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel Rookwood (1834) is the work which, along with Edward Bulwer Lytton’s lesser novel Paul Clifford (1830) imbued eighteenth-century highwaymen to legendary status. Ainsworth wanted to write a novel […]
or, The Life and Death of the Notorious High-Way-Man, Now Hanging in Chains at Hampstead, Delivered to a Friend a Little before Execution: Wherein is Truly Discovered the Whole Mystery of that Wicked and Fatal Profession of Padding on the Road (1674)
Did any women ever rob people in the 17th and 18th centuries?
Do we read ‘books,’ or do we read texts? What is a book?
This is a copy of the paper that I presented at the International Association for Robin Hood Studies ‘Outlaws in Context’ Conference, 30 June – 1 July 2015.
According to the legend, in old age Robin Hood fell ill and went to visit his cousin, who was the Prioress of Kirklees, so that he could be bled. However, his cousin conspired with her lover, Sir Roger of Doncaster, to kill Robin. So she opened a vein, locked Robin in the upper room of the gatehouse, and let him bleed to death.
In 1637 Ben Jonson began work on a Robin Hood play, “The Sad Shepherd; or, a Tale of Robin Hood,” and presented an idealised, pastoral outlaw world.
The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington (1598) & The Death of Robert, Earle of Huntingdon (1601) by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle.
Robin Hood first became an Earl in the 16th century; two relatively unknown plays had a dramatic effect upon later interpretations of the legend.
Exorbitancy and Necessity frequently compelled him to perpetrate Villainy; And no wonder, since he lived in the most infectious Air of the worst of most Licentious Times.
By Stephen Basdeo. In 1977, the horror movie The Hills Have Eyes was released, but it was based upon a 17th-century Scottish folk tale and was then immortalised in 18th-century criminal biography
The ‘long eighteenth century’ (c.1688-c.1837) is not a period that people usually associate with medievalism…but the subject of this post is the play “King Arthur, or the British Worthy” (1691) by John Dryden and Henry Purcell.
Prince John is now one of the stock villains of movie and television adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, but this wasn’t always the case…