Pernicious Trash? “The Prince of Archers, or, The Boyhood Days of Robin Hood”(1883)

In the late-Victorian period The Edinburgh Review wrote that ‘There is now before us such a veritable mountain of pernicious trash, mostly in paper covers, and “Price One Penny”; so-called novelettes, tales, stories of adventure, mystery and crime; pictures of school life hideously unlike reality; exploits of robbers, cut-throats, prostitutes, and rogues, that, but for its actual presence, it would seem incredible’.

The Critical Reception of Mrs. Brown of Falkland’s Robin Hood Ballads

Paper Presented to the Women’s History Network Conference, Leeds Trinity University, 16-17 September 2016.

Abstract: The earliest ballads of Robin Hood such as A Gest of Robyn Hode (c.1450) and Robin Hood and the Potter (c.1450) give no clue as to the manner of Robin Hood’s birth. This was still the case when Joseph Ritson published his influential ballad anthology entitled Robin Hood: A Collection of All the Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads (1795). Five years after Ritson, however, Robert Jamieson published Popular Ballads and Songs, from Tradition, Manuscripts, and Scarce Editions (1806). In that collection two new never-before-seen Robin Hood ballads appeared entitled The Birth of Robin Hood and The Wedding of Robin Hood and Little John. Jamieson had transcribed the ballads from Anna Gordon Brown of Falkland, Scotland. Although twentieth-century Robin Hood critics have derided Mrs. Brown’s ballads as being of little merit compared to earlier material, Mrs. Brown enjoyed a ‘literary afterlife’ in the tradition as Goody – the old woman who recites Robin Hood stories to dinner guests – in the first ever Robin Hood novel entitled Robin Hood: A Tale of the Olden Time (1819). The proposed paper, therefore, is intended to fit into the panel ‘Women Collectors and Collected Women’.

Reviews

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Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Life and Legend of a Rebel Leader: Wat Tyler” (2018)

“Basdeo wrote his doctoral thesis on the legend of Robin Hood and resolved to write a similar piece on the legend of Wat Tyler … he provides an interesting chapter on historical novels featuring Wat.” – Edward James, The Historical Novel Society

Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Lives and Exploits of the Most Noted Highwaymen, Rogues, and Murderers” (2018)

I admit that I have never heard of some of the criminals, which made the reading really enjoyable though some crimes were appalling. The most valuable part for me were all the references to the law and social background of the period together with detailed explanation why at a certain point there were no more highwaymen. A very good read! – BEATA B. Netgalley

Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Life and Legend of a Rebel Leader: Wat Tyler” (2018)

“Stephen Basdeo’s book is a fascinating study of the cultural impact of one of England’s most famous rebels: Wat Tyler, who was a key figure in the Great Revolt of 1381”. – Martin Empson (Resolute Reader)