Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, October 3, 2015

New Project: Robin Hood, Folklore, and Nationalism

I watch movies to go to sleep. And this month has been gold for Netflix: Batman Begins, Bourne movies, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
A lot of times I wake up in the night and watch some sections, then fall asleep.
Last night/early this morning I was having a hard time sleeping. So I woke up during the end of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Towards the end of the movie, Morgan Freeman's character, Azeem, a Moor, stops the common people from fleeing the castle grounds and instead gives them a rousing speech to get them to support Robin Hood:
I am not one of you but I fight. 
I fight with Robin Hood.
I fight against the tyrants who hold you under his boot.
If you would be free men, then you must fight.

It's a rousing speech, and the result is the common people turn around and attack the soldiers.
I love this movie, but several things struck me-
  • The clear emphasis on the common people as a power or force to be reckoned with
  • The optics that even a black Moor could see the power of the English people (vomit)
  • The martial framing of the entire discussion
  • The clear class divisions between the common rabble versus the opulent tyrants
So, in the wee hours of the morning I thought about how all of this would make a great next project for me.
Examining the medieval/early modern Robin Hood tales through a folkloric lens, how they are a reflection of the historical and cultural moment, and what they say about the folk they claim to represent, and how folklore is used as a vehicle for issues of nationalism are all research interests for me.
I need to beef up my medieval/early modern publications, and this seems a good way to do it.
One thing I've struggled with though, is because I read literary texts through a folkloric lens, and place them in their historical and cultural context, that's more difficult in the medieval period, where lack of evidence makes this harder.
Not impossible. Just more difficult.
But the publication of the Robin Hood tales is late enough that I have more to work with.
So I think this will be fun.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to work on this, I'll be in the second round of revisions on #DevilDiss soon, but there will be downtime on that, and there's nothing that says I can't work on this in pieces.


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