Myth and National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood

OUP Oxford, 2000 M03 2 - 284 páginas
Scholars have become increasingly interested in how modern national consciousness comes into being through fictional narratives. Literature is of particular importance to this process, for it is responsible for tracing the nations evolution through glorious tales of its history. In nineteenth-century Britain, the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood played an important role in construction of contemporary national identity. These two legends provide excellent windows through which to view British culture, because they provide very different perspectives. King Arthur and Robin Hood have traditionally been diametrically opposed in terms of their ideological orientation. The former is a king, a man at the pinnacle of the social and political hierarchy, whereas the latter is an outlaw, and is therefore completely outside conventional hierarchical structures. The fact that two such different figures could simultaneously function as British national heroes suggests that nineteenth-century British nationalism did not represent a single set of values and ideas, but rather that it was forced to assimilate a variety of competing points of view.

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King Arthur Robin Hood and British National
The Emergence
The Legends of King
Robin Hood King Arthur
Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood
The Legends
We shall be one people King Arthur and Robin
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Página 175 - As when a painter, poring on a face, Divinely thro' all hindrance finds the man Behind it, and so paints him that his face, The shape and colour of a mind and life, Lives for his children, ever at its best And fullest...
Página 33 - You will observe, that, from Magna Charta to the Declaration of Right, it has been the uniform policy of our Constitution to claim and assert our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity, — as an estate specially belonging to the people of this kingdom, without any reference whatever to any other more general or prior right.
Página 22 - They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him ; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England: they say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
Página 34 - Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of government beyond the grave, is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.
Página 67 - ... confess; that it is somewhat rotten in parts, I will not altogether deny; that it is any the worse for that, I do most sturdily gainsay. It does its business well: it works well: it keeps out the water from the land, and it lets in the wine upon the High Commission of Embankment.
Página 42 - Robin Hood : a man who, in a barbarous age, and under a complicated tyranny, displayed a spirit of freedom and independence which has endeared him to the common people, whose cause he maintained (for all opposition to tyranny is the cause of the people...
Página 92 - ... what can more clearly point out their native land and ours as having fulfilled a glorious past, as being destined for a glorious future, than that they should have acquired for themselves and for those who come after them a clear, a strong, an harmonious, a noble language?
Página 4 - It was an invention forged above all by war. Time and time again, war with France brought Britons, whether they hailed from Wales or Scotland or England, into confrontation with an obviously hostile Other and encouraged them to define themselves collectively against it.

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