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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire Mass Market Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book, loved the language and imagery and the pace of the stories; the humor. I read it over the course of several weeks as nightly readings, just enjoying the journey. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Becc
My son loved this years ago. I sent this one to a grandson (8) the other day and got a coveted, elusive thank you note.Published 3 months ago by GC
What's not to like? Stories about Robin Hood for me to read with my grandkids. The language is appropriate for 5- to 13-year-olds.Published 4 months ago by David Ricks
I thoroughly enjoyed entire book. It was interesting reading original story. It has changed over the years but these are well written and fun stories.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Didn't know how I would fee about this book as I should have read it when I was much younger, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially for its light deft touch on the man, his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by bookgal