A.J. Pollard takes us back to the earliest surviving stories, tales and ballads of Robin Hood, and re-examines the story of this fascinating figure. Setting out the economic, social and political context of the time, Pollard illuminates the legend of this yeoman hero and champion of justice as never before.
Imagining Robin Hood questions:
what a `yeoman' was, and what it meant to be a fifteenth-century Englishman
Was Robin Hood hunted as an outlaw, or respected as an officially appointed forest ranger?
Why do we ignore the fact that this celebrated hero led a life of crime?
Did he actually steal from the rich and give to the poor?
Answering these questions, the book looks at how Robin Hood was `all things to all men' since he first appeared; speaking to the gentry, the peasants and all those in between. The story of the freedom-loving outlaw tells us much about the English nation, but tracing back to the first stories reveals even more about the society in which the legend arose.
An enthralling read for all historians and general readers of this fascinating subject.
A. J. Pollard is Professor of History at the University of Teesside. He is the author of The Wars of the Roses (2001), and Late Medieval England, 1399-1509 (2000)
1. Texts and Context 2. Yeomanry 3. A Greenwood Far Away 4. Crime, Violence and the Law 5. Religion and the Religious 6. Fellowship and Fraternity 7. Authority and the Social Order 8. History and Memory 9. Farewell to Merry England