048. Robin Hood Across the Ages

A. Heetderks (English)
4 HU, W-INT
Full Course -- 4 Credits
Fall Semester  FYSP 048-01 TR 11:00-12:15

A drug kingpin, an anti-poverty charity, a finance-reform tax: all these modern-day entities have been called “Robin Hood.” Since his first appearances in medieval English literature, Robin Hood has been variously portrayed as a scamp, a felon, a traitor, a thieving do-gooder, a scion of merry old England, and a swashbuckling folkloric hero. Why does popular culture keep returning to this compelling figure? What can these many—often incongruous—portrayals of Robin Hood show us about cultural memory and fiction-making, nostalgia, and political myths? Armed with our analytical skills and a bit of our own bravado, we will charge into medieval pop culture, nineteenth-century novels, and contemporary TV shows and movies to investigate English literature’s most shape-shifting legend. We will also develop some language skills as we learn to read medieval Robin Hood ballads in Middle English.