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The Adventures of Robin Hood (Qualitas Classics) (Qualitas Classics. Fireside Classics) Paperback – January 1, 2016
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Howard Pyle was the first person in the modern era to collect all the Robin Hood ballads that had come down from the midieval era and put them into a modern format, structured as stories and so forth. Essentially every version of Robin Hood in the past century has drawn on Howard Pyle's Robin Hood as its major source, and reading this book is the best way to understand why the minor characters in (for example) Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" are named things like "Will Scarlet" or "Much the Miller's Son."
I was given this book to read as a child, and it was and still is one of my all-time favorites (although I always avoided reading the final chapter, which is sad enough that Pyle even warns his readers about it). The elevated, pseudo-elizabethan style even helped me later on -- when I got to Shakespeare in school, the language was easy for me, because I'd been reading Howard Pyle since I was eight.
The problem with this ebook version is that it doesn't contain the illustrations, though. And that's simply unforgivable. Howard Pyle is today better known as an illustrator than as a writer. He was the art teacher who taught people like Arthur Rackham and N.C. Wyeth. His illustrations are immensely rich and detailed, and as full of period accuracy and background research as his writing was. It's an unforgivable shame to miss them.
Versions of this book can be found online free with illustrations. Don't bother with this version, as it doesn't have them. Reading this book without the illustrations is like taking an oscar-winning film and just listening to the sound with the screen blacked out. You can do it, but why?
BUT, and I can't stress this hard enough, DO NOT READ THE EPILOGUE. It ruins the book. It doesn't fit with any of the other chapters. I don't get it. It's like the author lost a bet or wrote it on his deathbed after he had dementia. I wont ruin anything for you (barely borderline implied spoilers ahead), but if you know the movie Clerks, you might know that it was originally filmed with a last scene where the clerk gets robbed shot and killed. That bizarrely out of place scene was rightfully cut out, and is now only in dvd deleted scenes for that otherwise completely funny movie. Well this epilogue is like that scene...delete it.
Not sure about all of the comments about bad formatting. I had no issues except for a small handful of typos. However this is not to be considered an illustrated volume. There are a few illustrations at the end and most of those have nothing to do with this book.