"Robin Hood and the Outlaw Canon: Medieval Texts and Contexts." 48th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, May 9-12
"Robin Hood and the Outlaw Canon: Medieval Texts and Contexts."
Robin Hood is certainly one of the best known figures associated with the Middle Ages. Like King Arthur and the characters and the iconography of the Arthurian tradition, Robin Hood and his topos have likewise become mainstays of popular culture and are in many ways part of the global consciousness. But popularity and name recognition does not always translate to canonicity. While the corpus of Arthurian literature contains a number of texts that are firmly within the literary canon (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, and Chretien's five romances, to name but a few), the same cannot be said of the texts of the Robin Hood tradition. The aim of these sessions is to address the literary, cultural, and ideological factors that have kept the Robin Hood tradition out of the literary canon, and to examine ways in which certain Robin Hood texts have begun to work their way back into the scholarly and pedagogical discourse. These sessions are unique, for the question of the canonicity of the Robin Hood tradition as not been adequately addressed. Moreover, these session will be timely, for the fifteen years has seen not only an increase in significant scholarly contributions to the field of Robin Hood studies, such as Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren's TEAMS edition Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales (1997), Knight's Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography (2003), and Ohlgren's Robin Hood: The Early Poems, 1465-1560 (2007), but also has witnessed a growth in the number of Robin Hood classes taught at undergraduate and graduate levels and even in some high schools. A transgressive figure, Robin Hood and his texts have been given outsider status, yet he and his greenwood world have maintained a hold on our collective imagination. It seems that now is the opportune time for a reconsideration of Robin Hood's place within the canon.
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