The “Public School” Robin Hood: The Outlaw in Nineteenth-Century Children’s Books

Stephen Basdeo

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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    During the late-Victorian and Edwardian period many children’s books telling the story of Robin Hood were published, such as John B. Marsh’s Robin Hood (1865), Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883), Henry Gilbert’s Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood (1912), and Paul Creswick’s Robin Hood and his Adventures (1917). Stephanie Barczewski argues that Robin Hood in late Victorian children’s books is an anti-imperialist figure, and she bases this assertion largely upon the fact that Robin Hood children’s books are critical of Richard I’s foreign adventures. Yet the situation was more nuanced than that: many of the late Victorian Robin Hood children’s works that were published in the period projected Robin Hood and his fellow outlaws as men who lived up to the Public School Ethos, cultivating the virtues of athleticism, fair play, chivalry, and devotion to duty. Indeed, Edward Gilliatt’s novel In Lincoln Green (1898) is even set in a very ‘Victorianised’ medieval public school. Thus these works represented the ideal qualities that young men would need if they were to serve the country, and thus, as the proposed paper argues, were subtly imperialist.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
    EventPackaging the Past for Children - Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
    Duration: 6 Jul 20167 Jul 2016

    Academic conference

    Academic conferencePackaging the Past for Children
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Victorian Studies
    • Children's Literature
    • Robin Hood
    • Imperialism
    • Public Schools


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