On the same night that Mary Shelley conceived the idea for Frankenstein, her friend, Dr John Polidori, conjured another frightening creature – the vampire. Yet his malevolent vampire was no match for some Italian bandits, it seems.
In the earliest medieval poems, Robin Hood is devoted to the Virgin Mary. While this may seem odd, many thieves in medieval Europe had an attachment to her.
G. W. M. Reynolds, the “vicious republican” of the Victorian era, attributed the cause of all crime to the the existence of the royal family and the political establishment.
In the Victorian era, New York was a large industrial city with ‘dark Satanic mills’ in which the poor and the rich lived “cheek by jowl”; paupers lived a hand-to-mouth existence and for many, a life of crime as part of an organised criminal gang.
“Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15: 33, ASV)
Robin Hood hated the sheriff of Nottingham and everything he stood for, but that doesn’t mean that he objected to the sheriff keeping law and order.
The original Goldilocks was a haggard old woman and a criminal vagrant who gets sent to prison for being up to no good.
In 1824, the lawyer, Andrew Kapp, asked, “Do not these creatures, when they are bruised and wounded, shew an equal sense of pain with ourselves? Are not their shrieks and mournful cries, as so many, calls upon their tormentors for pity? And do not their dying pangs, and the painful convulsions of their tortured bodies, cause uneasiness in every human spectator?”
Contrary to stories of Robin Hood, an outlaw’s life was not a merry one: in the 1820s, banditry in Italy was rife; at this time, a young travel writer named Charles Macfarlane was touring the country and managed to obtain a rare interview with one of these brigands.
The popular song “Mack the Knife” was based upon the story of an eighteenth-century highwayman named Captain Macheath. This post traces the literary life of this fictional character.