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…
The writers of biographical and fictional works in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries sought to instil these values into young people’s minds. These were the values of what is known as the public school ethos. This post shall examine the ways in which the values of the public school ethos were imparted to readers within such literature.
Every book which survives from the eighteenth century is a unique object, and likely there is not another one like it in the whole world.
During the nineteenth century, various authors such as John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, and Thomas Love Peacock transformed Robin Hood into a morally safe figure; a respectable outlaw hero with whom the Victorian middle classes could identify. It was not purely in literary texts that Robin Hood’s respectable status was exhibited, however, but also in material culture.
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew were founded by Princess Augusta (1713-1772) in the 1760s. In 1838 a Royal Commission was set up to inquire into the future of the gardens. The Commission concluded that, after years of official neglect, ‘the gardens should either be put on a professional footing or be closed’.
Many people will remember the furor over so-called “video nasties” in the early 1990s, when certain horror movies had been blamed for some particularly heinous juvenile crimes. Newspapers such as the The Sun carried headlines such as “burn your video nasties.” This was a knee-jerk reaction that is known as a “moral panic.” However, it was not the first time that the newspapers had blamed a form of entertainment for particularly heinous crimes.
‘…every wise man would wish to absent from, rather than pay for a feat to behold, a mixture of noise, nonsense, and confusion. Amidst this jargon of men and things, thus promiscuously […]
Here are the scans I’ve recently completed of the penny dreadfuls in my collection so far.
In the penny dreadful version of The New Newgate Calendar, scenes of the most sensational and sexual type were included for publication – torture scenes, nudity, and flagellation – and sparked a moral panic amongst middle-class press commentators.
Who is the most likely candidate for being the original Robin Hood?
The last historian to address this was James Clarke Holt, and the evidence for the most likely candidate which he identified is laid down here.
The novel emerged as the dominant literary genre in the eighteenth century. One of the first majorly successful novels was Pamela (1740). Most novels during the eighteenth century are classified into two […]
Penny bloods were cheap pieces of serialised fiction which offered a chance for young working-class readers to indulge in ‘carnivalesque’ entertainment; they allowed their readers to indulge in mocking authority. Their subject […]
This post has been adapted from a chapter in my MA Thesis which was completed under the supervision of Dr. Heather Shore. The tale of Sweeney Todd, the ‘demon barber,’ (originally entitled […]
The early eighteenth century was one of the best ages for satire. Writers such as Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729) wrote their Spectator and Tatler magazines to expose the follies […]
The Mysteries of London was a long-running penny dreadful serial which ran between 1844 and 1846 and was the biggest selling novel of the Victorian era. Read the ebook here. A version […]
The trade in broadsides recounting the ‘Last Dying Speech’ of felons before they were hanged thrived during eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These broadsides are a fascinating area of research for those interested […]
In 1751 the novelist and Magistrate of Westminster, Henry Fielding (1707-1754) published An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers. ‘The great Increase of Robberies within these few years,’ […]
Whilst most people generally conceive of organised crime as being a distinctly modern, 20th-century, phenomenon, it has a longer history than first assumed. This post uses the theoretical framework of modern-day criminology to analyse the organised crime network established by Jonathan Wild in London in the early 18th century.
The folktale of “The Two Children in the Wood” has always been popular with audiences, in spite of its grim content, depicting as it does the death of two children. However, the legend became incorporated into the Robin Hood tradition in the nineteenth century, This post discusses why two very different legends came to be associated.
Romanticism was a cultural and intellectual movement spearheaded by poets, artists, writers, sculptors and musicians. Whereas in the eighteenth century men such as Joseph Addison (1672-1719) complained that rural people and provincial […]
During the 18th century crime was the talk of the town in England. In 1751, the crime rate had reached such hellish proportions that the Magistrate of Westminster, Henry Fielding (the author […]
Whilst re-organising my home work space, I came across my undergraduate dissertation. I focused upon representations of polite society in eighteenth-century print culture, with a particular focus upon the periodicals of two […]
I can nought parfitly my pater noster as the prest it syngeth, but I can rymes of Robyn Hode and Randalf erle of Chestre – The Vision of Piers the Plowman (c.1380) […]
This post examines the debt that George R.R. Martin owes to one of the nineteenth century’s foremost novelists, Sir Walter Scott.