“A plebeian fighting for the poor and rewarded with poverty.”
“The distance is never great between contempt of the laws and open resistance to them.” – Justice Fitzgerald.
Mike Leigh has produced a visually impressive movie, but the characters are a bit flat.
Young lads have always enjoyed playing football, but sometimes their love for it can land them in trouble with the police. This is as true today as it was in the Victorian era, where in court records we find two residents from Richmond, London, William Ford, aged 19, and Henry Hold, aged 15, arrested for having broken into a shop and stealing a football.
Shrouded in mystery, eerie in sound, mysterious in origin, menacing in the images it provoked, the word ‘mafia’ came into common usage in c. 1875.
Whenever a politician proposes raising a new tax or cutting a public service, a newspaper columnist will often respond that the proposed changes are ‘Reverse Robin Hood’. Alternatively, those who look favourably upon governmental tax and finance reforms might attempt to portray the politician in question as embodying Robin Hood values.
If you were a criminal, what would you choose – a life sentence in prison, the death sentence, or to be surgically blinded?
On the same night that Mary Shelley conceived the idea for Frankenstein, her friend, Dr John Polidori, conjured another frightening creature – the vampire. Yet his malevolent vampire was no match for some Italian bandits, it seems.
In WW1, Conscientious Objectors under sentence of death left their mark in their cells detailing their thoughts and prayers before in what they imagined were their final hours.
G. W. M. Reynolds, the “vicious republican” of the Victorian era, attributed the cause of all crime to the the existence of the royal family and the political establishment.
In the Victorian era, New York was a large industrial city with ‘dark Satanic mills’ in which the poor and the rich lived “cheek by jowl”; paupers lived a hand-to-mouth existence and for many, a life of crime as part of an organised criminal gang.
Stephen Basdeo takes a look at the life of one of New York’s pioneering social reformers, Jacob A. Riis.
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”: Deciding what is and what is not an act of terror
Tyler Welch explains why it IS possible to distinguish terrorist acts from the actions of legitimate freedom fighters.
What distinguishes a well-planned murder committed by a robber to a low-life thug extorting protection money from a business owner? In this post, Tyler Welch discusses how we can define organised crime, and how such groups emerge and flourish.
“Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15: 33, ASV)
Pierce Egan’s “Robin Hood” was an early Victorian bestseller. In the first edition, Egan also appended a collection of Robin Hood ballads alongside his novel, for which he provided the illustrations.
The original Goldilocks was a haggard old woman and a criminal vagrant who gets sent to prison for being up to no good.
In 1824, the lawyer, Andrew Kapp, asked, “Do not these creatures, when they are bruised and wounded, shew an equal sense of pain with ourselves? Are not their shrieks and mournful cries, as so many, calls upon their tormentors for pity? And do not their dying pangs, and the painful convulsions of their tortured bodies, cause uneasiness in every human spectator?”
Contrary to stories of Robin Hood, an outlaw’s life was not a merry one: in the 1820s, banditry in Italy was rife; at this time, a young travel writer named Charles Macfarlane was touring the country and managed to obtain a rare interview with one of these brigands.
By Stephen Basdeo. The popular song “Mack the Knife” was based upon the story of an eighteenth-century highwayman named Captain Macheath. This post traces the literary life of this fictional character.
“We would have killed the king and driven out of the land all possessioners, bishops, monks, canons, and rectors of churches. We would have created kings, Walter Tyler in Kent and one each in other counties, and appointed them and we would have set fire to four parts of the city and burnt it down and divided all the precious goods found there amongst ourselves.”
The year is 2073, England is a republic, but an incurable disease is sweeping the earth, decimating its population.
An Early Socialist History of the Peasants’ Revolt: Charles Edmund Maurice’s “Lives of English Popular Leaders of the Middle Ages” (1875)
Charles Edmund Maurice was a Barrister, History Lecturer, and committed Christian Socialist. In 1875, he authored one of the first socialist histories of the rebellion of 1381.
My book on Wat Tyler in medieval and post-medieval literature is now available for preorder on Amazon!