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Storyworlds of Robin Hood Reviews

Storyworlds of Robin Hood by Lesley Coote

Storyworlds of Robin Hood

The Origins of a Medieval Outlaw

Lesley Coote

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1 review

Imprint: Reaktion Books
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication date: 10 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9781789142327

A fresh and exciting reappraisal of folklore outlaw Robin Hood.

5 stars out of 5
5 Sep 2020

"a fascinating and engaging new look at an old legend"

Amidst all the filth and debauchery, our Robin is quite the clean-cut hero by comparison. However, Coote speculates that there may be lost tales that depict him in a less salubrious light. She also reminds us of his recorded acts of violence and criminal behaviour. The original Robin Hood ballads portray him and his men as brutal killers, not flinching at beheading a poor, blameless boy novice. Medieval audiences lapped it up: Coote estimates that some 2,000 printed books on Robin were in circulation c.1500. She explains that his seeming excesses can be excused because he was ‘just a servant’ of the Virgin Mary. (There is a prominent strain of Marian devotion in the Robin Hood tales.) Coote enlighteningly emphasises the moral message that links all of the tales she discusses.