Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bookworming: Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood & His Merry Outlaws, J. Walker McSpadden, ***
It can be interesting sometimes to go back and look at the legends. I had never actually read the real tales of Robin Hood before (or at least as real as they can get rendered into prose from the original verbal tradition). It is almost surprising how much of the tales have come down intact. Of course there is plenty that I had never seen as well. Most interestingly to me, the stories of Robin Hood clearly show many of the characteristics of the "pulp" stories I enjoy now, whether they be Howard's Conan or HBO's True Blood. Robin and his band are boisterous, enjoy their violent sports, carouse, and otherwise show all the base nature of humanity. Yet they remain indomitably honorable in the face of injustice and insane circumstance. Sounds like a great many characters now, doesn't it.

I'd like to say that says something about the constancy of humanity, but I doubt I have wide enough experience to prove anything. I will say that while James Joyce remains a right of passage for literary types (and no, I couldn't finish Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), it's Batman that keeps getting comics, movies, and TV shows. And the songs about Robin Hood are still being sung.

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