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Rymes of Robyn Hood: An Introduction to the English Outlaw Paperback – June, 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Alan Sutton; First Thus edition (June 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862996104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862996109
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,328,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BURTON J NORTHON on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This new paperback edition of the 1976 work has twenty-eight new pages of preface and forward which detail and discuss much of the more recent Robin Hood scholarship by Stephen Knight and others. About two dozen Robin Hood ballads, plays, and poems are viewed from the perspective of two noted English historians. They do an excellent job of bringing a nice group of the early Robin Hood ballad sources to light. In addition, several later poems, a number of plays, and a few other outlaw poems find their way into the book and the discussion. The authors round out their study with four appendices, a bibliography (from 1976), an updated additional bibliography (since 1976), and an index. Overall this a very good place to start researching this celebrated English outlaw. If you get hooked, as I have, there is more than enough information contained here to lead you on as merry a chase of the elusive outlaw as you chose to take.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Megan on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book offers a compilation of historical Robin Hood retellings, but also a comprehensive history of the Robin Hood legend. The introduction provides a thorough description and analysis of the genesis of the Robin Hood mystique, and then in the second and third part of the book each version is individually criticized. Rhymes, songs, prose, and theatrical versions all appear. In the last section, the authors provide a sample of other outlaw poetry, which can be compared to the Robin Hood legends. The authors have also compiles a comprehensive companion to any version of the legend, with maps of places, lists of names, and theories as to the origin of the legend.

This is an interesting and readable book. It strikes a remarkable balance between anthology and read-straight-through history book. It could certainly be read straight through, or in pieces. Even if you're not interested in wading through some of the middle English words, the analysis and introduction is indispensable to anyone interested in the Robin Hood legend, in outlaw mythology, British history, or even the history of the English language.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Allen W. Wright on May 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Here is a book that's been considered a classic in Robin Hood scholarship for over 30 years -- and deservedly so! It collects several important ballads, plays and poems. And it has a long well-written and very accessible introduction about the legend as a whole. Also, the new preface fills people in on the exciting Robin Hood scholarship of the 1980s and 1990s. Prepare to fall in love with Robin Hood all over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Waltz on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For most of the last two hundred years, there have been two ways to look at Robin Hood. One is the popular way, found in almost all movies and most popular books, and there is the scholarly way.

This is one of the classics of the scholarly view. For almost a century after F. J. Child published _The English and Scottish Popular Ballads_, scholars avoided re-editing the ballads -- the chief source of the legend of Robin Hood prior to the sixteenth century. Dobson and Taylor went back and published many of these works, along with a selection of later ballads and plays, plus some writings which illuminate the Robin Hood legend. In addition, they supplied an extensive introduction describing the history of the legend.

This is not the "last word." Dobson and Taylor's texts are very conservatively edited, following the "copy text" model even in situations where "eclecticism" is indicated. And there has been much good scholarship since their time. Someone who wants to know all about Robin Hood will want Holt's Robin Hood, and Knight's book on the Forresters Manuscript, and Ohlgren's "Early Poems," and Knight and Ohlgren's equivalent book about Robin and other outlaws, as well as Keen's book on medieval outlaws. But every Robin Hood scholar, and everyone who wants to know about the history of the legend, should have this book.

I emphasize that this is not the popular Robin Hood. The early poems are set in the reigns of one of the Three Edwards (who reigned from 1272 to 1377), NOT Richard I. Many of them are set in Barnsdale in Yorkshire, not Sherwood in Nottinghamshire. Robin does not steal from the rich to give to the poor -- Joseph Ritson invented that idea. If all you want is a retelling of the story someone read to you when you were young, this isn't for you. But if you want to understand the origins of the Robin Hood legend, this is a vital book.
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