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Dialectical Heroes: Robin Hood and King Arthur Across Time, Genre and Politics

Dialectical Heroes: Robin Hood and King Arthur Across Time, Genre and Politics

By Stephen Knight

Research Papers in the Humanities No.6 (2007)

Introduction: Initial reflection on Robin Hood and King Arthur suggests that they fulfil the most opposite, even unrelated form of dialecticality. Robin represents resistance to bad authority, Arthur represents good authority under fatal strain. So it would seem they cannot meet, and indeed they hardly ever have. In the ballad ‘Rose the Red and White Lily’ the inventive Mrs Brown of Falkland created two brothers called Robin and Arthur but while the former does become an outlaw, the latter only rises at court to the rank of nobleman, never king. T. H. White does make outlaw and future monarch meet more purposefully in The Sword in the Stone, but the main point of the book is the alterity of Arthur’s learning experiences. Contiguity between the two heroes is elsewhere restricted to their being parallels as English heroes in a patriotic series.

Click here to read this article from the Cardiff Humanities Research Institute

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