“The distance is never great between contempt of the laws and open resistance to them.” – Justice Fitzgerald.
Katherine Royer’s new book, “The English Execution Narrative, 1200-1700” (2015) analyses the meanings behind the often gruesome executions carried out in the medieval and early modern period.
My book on Wat Tyler in medieval and post-medieval literature is now available for preorder on Amazon!
Capt. Alexander Smith’s “A History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts, and Cheats” (1714) | Stephen Basdeo
Alexander Smith’s A History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts, and Cheats (1714), with its combination of excessive moralism and sensational reporting, set the tone for all successive ‘true’ crime writing.
During the late-Victorian and Edwardian period many children’s books telling the story of Robin Hood were published, such as John B. Marsh’s Robin Hood (1865), Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883), Henry Gilbert’s Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood (1912), and Paul Creswick’s Robin Hood and his Adventures (1917). Stephanie Barczewski argues that Robin Hood in late Victorian children’s books is an anti-imperialist figure, and she bases this assertion largely upon the fact that Robin Hood children’s books are critical of Richard I’s foreign adventures. Yet the situation was more nuanced than that: many of the late Victorian Robin Hood children’s works that were published in the period projected Robin Hood and his fellow outlaws as men who lived up to the Public School Ethos, cultivating the virtues of athleticism, fair play, chivalry, and devotion to duty. Indeed, Edward Gilliatt’s novel In Lincoln Green (1898) is even set in a very ‘Victorianised’ medieval public school. Thus these works represented the ideal qualities that young men would need if they were to serve the country, and thus, as the proposed paper argues, were subtly imperialist.
A paper read at Chethams Library, Manchester – 20 May 2016.
This is the text of a public talk given at Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds on 1 March 2015 to complement their Crime and Punishment Exhibition.
Examining how Scott’s fictional interpretation of the Middle Ages, in particular the notion that Robin Hood was a Saxon yeoman, influenced historical scholarship in the early-to-mid nineteenth century.
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.
Pierce Egan the Younger (1814-1880) was like the George R. R. Martin of his day. He loved the medieval period,
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 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.
One of the reasons for the longevity of the Robin Hood legend is the fact that, in the original medieval ballads, his origins are not stated. He is simply there, in the […]
An early Christmas present I received was the Doctor Who Series 8 box set. This gave me the chance to sit down and properly review the episode ‘Robot of Sherwood’ which transports […]
Medieval outlaws are arguably one of the first examples of organised crime in England. All organised crime gangs have certain codes of conduct which, to be counted as part of their respective gangs, they must adhere to. In this post I discuss the Outlaws Code laid down by Robin Hood in the Medieval ballads, and how and why such gangs of criminals enjoy the support of the people.
Further to my post about the book Robin Hood’s Garland I told you about earlier, I thought that I’d bring to your attention the following finding. Whilst most people think that Robin […]
When you begin researching the original Robin Hood ballads, the names of a few late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century antiquarians become familiar to you. The likes of Thomas Percy, an Irish Bishop […]