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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire Mass Market Paperback – September 5, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Pyle’s work] struck me dumb with admiration.”—Vincent van Gogh, in a letter to his brother

From the Publisher

8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530264
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Simons VINE VOICE on August 3, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It pains me that people are reading this without the illustrations. (Referring to Kindle edition).

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 Pyle even warns his readers they may want to do). 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?
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Format: Paperback
It pains me to read the reviews here by people who bought this book looking for the Disney fox. This is a legend, folklore, not fairy tale. It's closer to Beowulf than Beauty and the Beast. The language is fantastic, poetry! I read it first when I was very young, fourth grade maybe, but I enjoyed it then as much as I enjoy it now. The language is an obstacle for the first two pages, maybe three, but, after you acclimatize yourself to it, it creates a unique mood and atmosphere. This book is one of my all time favorites. I laughed, I cried, I wrote a review.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Who hasn't heard of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest? In this book you meet them all - including the powerful Little John, courageous Will Scarlet, musical Allan a Dale, and sly Friar Tuck. Howard Pyle offers what is probably the most complete and best collection of Robin Hood tales. All the old favorites are included - Little John and his quarter-staff toppling Robin into the water, Robin winning the golden arrow at Nottingham's archery contest, and the Sheriff being outsmarted in numerous attempts to capture Robin. But these are just the tip of the iceberg - this book is chock-full of entertaining merry adventures.
The medieval setting is portrayed beautifully, including the vast gulf between the upper and lower classes of society, the corruption and greed of the nobility, and the hypocrisy of the medieval Roman Catholic church where religion has degenerated to mere outward rituals. Even the language is somewhat antiquated, which initially seems tedious, but persevere because you will soon find that this an enjoyable and essential addition that heightens the heroic atmosphere of the story. But the medieval setting is not presented without a social commentary - Pyle shows that the unbalanced social structure inevitably resulted in the oppression of the poor and weak. It is left to Robin Hood and his men to take justice into their own hands, and fight nobly for the cause of the downtrodden. Such justice is accomplished in a questionable manner, because the notion of robbing the rich to help the poor implicitly endorses civil disobedience. But the more important theme of seeking justice and maintaining truth and right is in itself a noble one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the late 1800s, an American author and illustrator named Howard Pyle collected many old ballads and legends of Robin Hood and edited the text into one cohesive novel. His collection was targeted towards the children of the day, and he included many illustrations in order to set the mood of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Unfortunately this Kindle edition doesn't contain any illustrations! This is a major bummer, and I truly feel it detracts greatly from the experience of this book.

Putting the illustration issue aside, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood tells the story of folk hero and philanthropist Robin Hood, who famously robs from the rich to give back to the poor. We follow his adventures through confrontations with Little John and Friar Tuck, and his ongoing feud with the bad guy: Sheriff of Nottingham.

These stories are classics, and as a result the prose is obviously not contemporary - it can be tough to follow at times. If you give this book to your kids, expect to do some translating. Here's a sentence from the first few pages of the book:

"Now," quoth Robin, "will I go too, for fain would I draw a string for the bright eyes of my lass and a butt of good October brewing."

In general the dialogue is more difficult to follow than the action. Now this writing isn't completely impenetrable, but I can see how it would be difficult for a youngster in 2010. It may even be tough for some adults! Just something to be aware of before you dive into this book.

I still enjoy this book, but I have to admit that this lack of illustrations is a major blow. The price is right, and if you're into the classics - then you'll probably enjoy this book illustrations or not. Personally though, I'd pick up a version with the artwork.
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