Classics Retold: A Gest of Robyn Hode

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Hello lovelies! As you know September is Classics Retold month and you may remember that I am focusing on Robin Hood! I am INCREDIBLY excited to share all of the Robin Hood things with you all! Some of you may know that I have my Bachelor’s Degree in English, which means that I had to write a nifty thesis in undergrad! My thesis class was Heretics and Outlaws, and it was even more amazing than it sounds. I wanted to research ALL OF THE THINGS, but I settled (not really settling) for Robin Hood and wrote a cultural comparison on the original Gest and the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner. In a nutshell: it was long. In lieu of boring you (I know, how could it possibly be boring, it’s ROBIN OF THE HOOD!) I am going to give you some quick little snippets:

  • Much like the “Who is Shakespeare?!” conundrum, there are many arguments between scholars whether or not Robin Hood is a real person or simply a character from a ballad – I like to think that he was real for obvious, romanticized reasons.
  • Many scholars argue that Robin Hood was really a yeoman who worked as a money lender to bankrupt knights, and not a member of the lower class who “stole from the rich to give to the poor.”
  • The original tale “A Gest of Robyn Hode” is one of the oldest surviving tales of Robin Hood, printed between 1490 and 1534
  • The Gest was originally written in Middle English (Think: Chaucer) but is believed to have began as a minstrel tale due to the fact that there are parts when the narrator speaks directly to the audience.
  • Maid Marian was not in the original Gest, the tale focused more on the politics and corrupt legal system of the time instead of romance and platonic relationships between Robin and his cohorts.

Further Reading

  • Read the original Geste here
  • Read more about the “real” Robin Hood here
  • For film and TV adaptations check out this list, and for books and other media, look here
  • If you want to know anything else about these types of ballads, or readalikes (the outlaws and such) let me know, I have done incredible amounts of research on the topic and I would be happy to share!

For fun, I have attached the powerpoint presentation that I presented to introduce my paper to the English department, take a look and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned, I have some awesome adaptations coming your way!!