A Complete Study of the English Outlaw
This text details and analyzes the phenomenon of Robin Hood, his resistance to authority and how successive ages have interpreted him. The author suggests that in the late Middle Ages, Robin Hood was seen simply as an opponent of centralized law, whilst the Elizabethans recruited him to oppose a corrupt church. During the Restoration he came to personify treason against an annointed king. To Walter Scott, Robin was a Saxon freedom fighter, but to Keats he was a vision of an imaginatively freer time. The Georgian poets found in their hero a symbolic escape from oppressive modernity, while Hollywood, at its most vigorous - and elitist - made Robin Hood a figure of democracy. Knight's study, based on literary and sociocultural research, provides an analytic account of this figure, the English outlaw hero who has symbolized resistance to authority around the world for over 500 years.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"By no means indifferent to the romantic lure of the myth of the outlaw, Stephen Knight here provides an analysis of Robin Hood that is at once sympathetic and critical, warmly humane and politically astute - and remarkably thorough. This excellent book will fascinate and instruct all who have responded to the enduring fantasy of noble lawlessness." Professor Douglas Gray, University of Oxford . "What emerges very clearly is the extraordinary power and diversity of the material. Again and again the reader is encouraged to look at well-known works in a fresh and invigorating way or to explore unknown but fascinating areas. Knight is open-minded and generous. I find it all very persuasive." Professor Lee Patterson, Yale University. "Knight, s survey of the Robin Hood tradition (from brief 13th-century allusions to recent films featuring Kevin Costner and Mel Brooks) is meticulously thorough, and his attention to secondary sources is judicious." Publishers Weekly . "Professor Knight's generous-spirited and stimulating book deserves to reach an audience well beyond the universities." Times Literary Supplement . "Knight's study, which is supported by a useful time line, an extensive bibliography, and a thorough index, makes it a valuable addition to both graduate and undergraduate libraries."Choice. "Professor Knight's generous spirited and stimulating book deserves to reach an audience well beyond the universities... At the same time, it leaves scholars with much to reflect on."Andrew Wawn, TLS "A superb work on the subject... Stephen Knight's Robin Hodd is truly complete' and must be the last word on a folk hero who represents even today, our very best qualities - love and honour and fairness.." Harry Sayen, The Times.