The Robin Hood Pages
Under the Greenwood Tree
Hood of modern folk-mythology is a creature built up,
generation by generation, to meet the needs and desires of his
audience. The earliest Robin Hood was a yeoman, not a wronged
nobleman, who haunted Barnsdale Forest, not Sherwood; he didn't
become a Saxon or mere Englishman fighting the Norman oppressor
until Sir Walter Scott dressed him up for his walk-on in
Ivanhoe. The original outlaw behind Batman and Zorro and
The Scarlet Pimpernel was a ragged ruffian who might have worn
Lincoln Green, whose shadow stretching across the centuries
tells us much about our changing understanding of
order and honor and justice.
Robin Hood Project at The University of Rochester is designed
to make available in electronic format a database of texts,
images, bibliographies, and basic information
about the Robin Hood stories and other outlaw tales.
The project is sponsored by the University of Rochester and
prepared in The Robbins Library, a branch of Rush Rhees Library.
The site includes online versions of
original texts (including
the relevant Child ballads) as well
as a bibliography, filmography, and a guide to
general resources for the study of Robin Hood literature.
Tales of Robin Hood
Every generation looks at Robin through its own filters and remakes
him in its own fashion. Here are some highlights, from The Robin Hood Project:
- The Sad
Shepheard, or a Tale of Robin Hood, a play by Ben Jonson 
- Robin Hood,
by John Keats 
- The Foresters:
Robin Hood and Maid Marian, a play by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 
- The Foresters:
Robin Hood and Maid Marian by Alfred Lord Tennyson, with
Incidental Music, Songs & by Arthur Sullivan.
The full narrative poem, MIDI files and scores of Sir Arthur Sullivan's
music, and illustrations, at the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive.
Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle, the classic
version of the stories of 1883, published by Project Gutenberg.
I tell you plainly
that if you go farther you will be scandalized by seeing good,
sober folks of real history so frisk and caper in gay colors and motley
that you would not know them but for the names tagged to them.
Here is a stout, lusty fellow with a quick temper, yet none so ill
for all that, who goes by the name of Henry II. Here is a fair,
gentle lady before whom all the others bow and call her
Queen Eleanor. Here is a fat rogue of a fellow, dressed up in rich
robes of a clerical kind, that all the good folk call my Lord Bishop
of Hereford. Here is a certain fellow with a sour temper and a grim look--
the worshipful, the Sheriff of Nottingham. And here, above all,
is a great, tall, merry fellow that roams the greenwood and joins
in homely sports, and sits beside the Sheriff at merry feast, which same
beareth the name of the proudest of the Plantagenets--Richard of
the Lion's Heart. Beside these are a whole host of knights,
priests, nobles, burghers, yeomen, pages, ladies, lasses, landlords,
beggars, peddlers, and what not, all living the merriest of merry lives,
and all bound by nothing but a few odd strands of certain old ballads
(snipped and clipped and tied together again in a score of knots)
which draw these jocund fellows here and there, singing as they go.
["From the Author to the Reader."]
Hood by J. Walker McSpadden is more correctly Stories Of Robin Hood And His
Merry Outlaws. It's a sentimental children's book of 1904, also from
by Henry Gilbert [no publication date, c. 1912], as hypertext with the orginal illustrations,
from Kellscraft Studio.
The Black Arrow
by Robert Louis Stevenson - a tale of the Wars of the Roses, and not Robin Hood,
though it features brave fellows attired "in tbe height of forest gallantry, all in
Lincoln green, both hood and jerkin, with dainty peacock arrows in their belts, a horn upon a baldrick, and a sword
and dagger at their sides." Also from Kellscraft Studio.
The One Essential Reference
Robin Hood by J.C. Holt (UK and US: Thames and Hudson,
1982) is a comprehensive survey of the Robin Hood of ballad, history,
legend, and fiction. Holt places the evolution of Robin in
social context through the centuries, in the single best reference
for the general reader. [PKM]
More on Bold Robin
Robin Hood: The Early Poems,
selected studies by Thomas H. Ohlgren, at Purdue.
Childe Hood: The Infantilization of Medieval Legend
by Julie Nelson Couch [PDF Format], from In Parentheses: Papers in Medieval Studies at York University.
Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood, a new site from
Allen W. Wright, part of the Robin
of Sherwood Webring. New URL.
Amy Van Orden's
Robin Hood Homepage features an extensive list of Robin Hood links.
Notes on the Illustrations ·
5 May 2005