Brooke, Tucker. The Tudor Drama; a History of English National Drama to the Retirement of Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911. Print.
In this book, Tucker Brooke, scholar on Shakespeare and early English drama, lays out a complete survey of the evolution of theatre from the end of medieval drama through the end of the Elizabethan age and (eponymously) to the end of Shakespeare's career. Brooke shows that "All that is most characteristic in the development of the English theatre falls easily within the one hundred and eighteen years of [the Tudor's] dominion." As such, he covers the evolution of Catholic mystery plays into the theological morality plays into the public theatre. As part of this, he details the rise of Comedy out of the burlesque elements of morality plays and their antagonistic relationship to the church; as well as the evolution of two completely new forms of drama: the heroic play and the history play. One of the strengths of Brooke's text is his inclusion of societal and historical context and their influence on these art forms. Much of this context focuses on the reign of Henry VIII and the drastic effects of the excommunication of England from the Holy Roman Empire. However, this text is relatively free of bias or opinion and manages to keep its survey limited to an analytical exploration of only what is readily available and apparent. The Tudor Drama provides a wide as well as deep introduction into the world of medieval, Tudor, and Elizabethan drama as well as the historical context to frame these forms and the ways in which each evolved into the next.
Field, Sean. "Journal of British Studies." Journal of British Studies. 41.1 (2002): 6-22. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.
This article lays out the associations that Robin Hood has with religion in 16th and 17th century England. Robin Hood is used as a lens to view how central Catholocism was to English people in the early 1500s. The article also helps the reader understand that the story of Robin Hood was widespread geographically, and additionally well known amongst all social classes. We learn that no single version of the Robin Hood story is the true story or the mother story that all the other emerged from. Instead all the stories are true in the sense that the Robin Hood character maintains consistent throughout the ballads and stories. The article also talks at length about the development of the various documented ballads, poems and tales regarding Robin Hood in a chronological manner. By looking at the evolution of these Robin Hood texts in a chronological manner the author elucidates Robin Hood's devout relationship with the church. An interesting fact that this article highlights is that Robin Hood was actually never depicted originally as stealing from the rich to give to the poor, a plotline that is well known in our contemporary view of Robin Hood. This article is insightful for our research as a means of understanding the evolution of Robin Hood as an icon, but since the article does not begin to discuss the Tudor period until its final pages it serves best as a means of helping us place our research in a clear sociopolitical context.
Fletcher, Robert Huntington. A History of English Literature. Boston: Richard G. Badger,1916. Print. 85-91.
This section of Huntington's book focused on the theatre during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Elizabethan period. He outlines how the folk plays of the Middle Ages were often energetic dances, included rough fighting and playing, and included a little dramatic action. The characters of these plays became a set which included Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Green Dragon. He then writes about Liturgical and Mystery plays which arose out of the need to dramatize church services in order to convey the stories of the Bible to peasants. Gradually, Morality plays came to the forefront as a way for religious writers to more directly teach the principles and morals of Christianity. The majority of actors played abstract allegorical figures representing good and bad such as The Seven Deadly Sins and Contemplation. They also included unearthly characters like God or the devil, and the hero was often a person who stands for all of mankind. This spawned plays like Everyman, in which the main character who has lived a life of sin is able to resist temptation when he accepts the salvation offered by a merciful God. During the Reformation period the main character becomes a vehicle for religious arguments used often by Protestants. Conventions of these early English forms were carried into aspects of Elizabethan theatre such as anachronistic elements, introducing comedy into tragic scenes, and the presentation of stock figures like clowns.
Kermode, Lloyd Edward., Jason Scott-Warren, and Elk Martine. Van. Tudor Drama before Shakespeare, 1485-1590: New Directions for Research, Criticism, and Pedagogy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Print.
It addresses that we usually think of Robin Hood plays and games as secular pastimes, but that "such festivals of misrule may be distinguished from 'religious' drama and ceremonies, and their performance, at times, may have even conflicted with official religious teaching." They became important to the religious culture anyway and the games would take place at Whitsuntide, Hocktide and other feasts on the Christian calendar. First as a Catholic tradition, they were organised as money-making ventures to fund devotional interests such as altar candles, poor relief, and the parish at large. Robin Hood's persona as a festive "lord of misrule" and charitable supporter of the disadvantaged made him an attractive symbol for these events. This piece gives us a look at the Robin Hood who was a Catholic that attended Mass and was a devotee of the Virgin. It states the contemporary comments by theatre historians often overlook this prominent feature to Robin Hood's legendary persona, and that the ballads are consistent with many late medieval texts in their satire of the clerical and institutional corruptions of the church without challenging basic teachings and ceremonies. It describes how these games and ales not only raised money for their cause, but were deemed spiritually meritorious for all who participated. However, at the end, it describes how Protestantism had taken Robin Hood in order to draw people to their cause. Basically, Robin Hood was easy to use for agenda-driven purposes.
Knight, Stephen Thomas., Thomas H. Ohlgren, and Thomas E. Kelly. Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales. Kalamazoo, MI: Published for TEAMS in Association with the University of Rochester by Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 1997. Print.
This anthology was developed by the TEAMS Middle-English literature series as a compilation of the various textual sources of the Robin Hood myths ranging from the early 12th century through the end of the Elizabethan era and beginning into extant works after Elizabeth. Many of these are poems and ballads of Robin Hood, his merry men, his adventures, and a handful of other and unnamed outlaws; but there are nearly two hundred pages of Robin Hood plays (c. 1450-1605) within this anthology. Though these plays and many of the other texts in this book are incomplete or fragments (not to mention, the TEAMS project retains the Middle-English syntax making it slightly difficult to read at times), the editors include a detailed introduction to each text providing the historical, social, and political context of each item, a breakdown and reconstruction of the structure and syntax, notes on their own process, notes on language in the text body, and often many anthropological considerations for the text itself. Perhaps though, this compilations greatest asset is the documentation of how the Robin Hood mythos has developed and evolved over time, marking the important shifts both in the way these stories are told and the content of each individual telling (such as the addition of the characters Friar Tuck and the Maid Marion). The most drastic of these changes is the shift of Robin Hood from an outlaw and anarchist (who perhaps represented any of a handful of real people) to his standing as the hero and supporter of Richard the Lionheart during the third Crusade, fighter of the corrupt Sherriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and Prince John (and his becoming known as Sir Robert, Earl of Huntington). The TEAMS text skillfully incorporates both historical text and a historiographical lens into a specific examination on the development and dissemination of such specific topic. This really is "The Book" on Robin Hood.
Robin Hood Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood. Alan W. Wright. 1997-2012. November 10th, 2012.
This website provides a lot of comprehensive information about Robin Hood. It covers everything from stories and ballads, to the games and festivals, as well as a chronological overview of the evolution of the tale. The information on the website is written at a super accessible reading level and is a great place to begin your research on this topic if you are wholly or mostly unfamiliar with it. The site cannot be counted as credible from a scholarly standpoint. It is managed by a single author, and contains little to no in-text citaitons, therefore when using it in research one must be aware of the author's personal bias in regards to historical accuracy. With that said, the website does offer a comprehensive list of sources on the navigation panel of the page. These sources listed could be explored furter to expand upon the informaton offered on the website. Overall I would highly recommend this site as a base for obtaining a sense of general knowledge about Robin Hood, it would most definitely allow a reader to discover which aspect of the folklore they are most intrigued by, and fruther research through other more credible sources could be conducted at that point.
Wood, Grant. American Gothic. 1930. Oil on beaverboard. Institute of Art in Chicago, Chicago.
This piece has been parodied countless times and each era readers have understood the piece through a different lens. The piece is often appropriated to fit any sort of agenda for persuasive or amusing purposes. We intend to use this image, and its condition of being extremely familiar to elucidate the position of Robin Hood in the culture. There are three related images we are using here are links to these images:
This one is a link to an image representing the early reality show the Simple Life. American Gothic the painting was originally painted to depict the rural American life and has been pirated by the show to demonstrate how ridiculous these wealthy socialites look in this environment.
This image is the poster to a horror film. Again the position of the characters in space and their dress suggests the original painting, but has been adopted to represent something quite different.
This example shows American Gothic being pirated by an actual political movement and then marketed and sold.
The use of these four images juxtaposed with the character Robin Hood should serve to provide context and demonstrates this practice of reassigning significance to an image which was at work during the Tudor Period.