Exploring Medieval Literature: origins of the Robin Hood legend
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT214
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
The earliest references to a “Robinhood”, spelled variously, are in 13th-Century legal documents, generally nicknames for various ne’er-do-wells. Yet legends surrounding him begin slowly to make their way into medieval creative literature, poems and other fiction. As writers start to utilise the Robin Hood story, the link with historical events becomes increasingly uncertain, and intriguing. This course looks at the earlier literature to see how the origins and development of the Robin Hood legend relate to modern depictions. We will look at different kinds of text that feature the hero, and consider what these representations tell us about contemporary society, literary trends, and views of outlaw status.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
The origins of the Robin Hood legend.
The different literature of the medieval and renaissance periods that describe his exploits: poems, ballads, and plays.
The list of protagonists and antagonists, their development over time, and their relationship with historical figures.
Key locations, narratives and events.
The progress of the legend over the centuries.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Describe the main kinds of literature that featured the Robin Hood legend in the medieval and renaissance period.
Recognise the main characters, and their relationship to historical figures.
Discern the reasons for the moral arguments in the literature.
Differentiate between the early literary representations and those in film and modern writing.
Understand where the Robin Hood figure first originated.
Recognise the shift from historical documents to more creative literature in the medieval period.
Describe the relevant geographical locations in the legend and align those with present-day locations.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course considers medieval and Renaissance English writing, but it is not technical and requires no specific knowledge of earlier language or linguistic terms.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
By presentation and demonstration. Also group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You should have pen and paper ready, but course notes will be provided. All texts we will look at will also be provided in electronic files.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other literary history courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture & writing/literature/literary history.
Steven teaches medieval literature, including Old and Middle English, Old Norse literature, and modern interpretations of medieval works and the medieval period for the Culture and Humanities department at City Lit. He has taught at City Lit since 2013, and he also has experience teaching in higher education and in secondary schools. Steven completed a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2018, and has degrees in English and anthropology, a master’s degree in ethnomusicology and a PGCE. He is currently writing a book about performance in Old English poetry, which will be published in 2021 by Boydell and Brewer. In addition to his specialist work in Culture and Humanities, Steven also teaches in the Business and Technology department.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.