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Female Bandits? What next!

Wendy Doniger: The incarnations of Robin​ Hood

22 July 2004
Robin​ Hood: A Mythic Biography 
by Stephen Knight.
Cornell, 247 pp., £14.50, May 2003, 0 8014 3885 3
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... In the 1964 film Robin and the Seven Hoods, when someone compares ‘Robbo’ (Frank Sinatra) to Robin Hood, one of the gangsters asks: ‘Who’s Robin Hood?’ And another replies: ‘Well, he was a hood, some Englishman who lived long ago and had an operation going for him in the forest. And I guess the "robin” means he stole birds.’ Robin is ...

Out in the Open

Robin​ Robertson

25 May 2006
... caught there: in this still mirror-lake, up-ended in the summer night. Violence seems unreal for a while. 3. The sun is scorching. The plane comes in low, throwing a shadow in the shape of a giant cross, rushing over the ground. A man crouches over something in the field. The shadow reaches him. For a split-second he is in the middle of the cross. I have seen the cross that hangs from cool church ...

Beyond Dubh-Chladach

Robin​ Robertson

23 May 2019
... me, as I came to fruit. There was no minister on these rocks and no saining for me here, so Rab had a wreath of rowan over the bed, the Bible held open by the rusted shears that made the shape of the cross, the bucket of maistir there against the grey folk, the noiseless ones, and a cup of well-water with the gold ring in it for the three mouthfuls that would save me. And saved we were. He was ...


Robin​ Robertson

8 September 2011
... the road belches, bellies like a breaching whale, it’s an IED. * The coyote walks through betrayal, grief, horror, steps through fire and ice. * The Apache’s long night-vision sees the runners cross-haired: the white men. * The command comes through as ghosts scribble the desert:You’re clear to engage. * Pronghorn, jack-rabbit,coyote, javelina,skunk, mountain lion. * Coyotes running people ...

Two Poems

Robin​ Robertson

7 February 2013
... ash above some crematorium; me, swimming back-crawl through the valley of the shadow of death, and you – not even a photograph left of you – the girl who will never touch again the foot of the cross at Crimond ...

March, Lewisboro

Robin​ Robertson

19 August 1999
... The estate at dawn hangs like smoke; the forest drawn in grainy bands of smeared, cross-hatched, illegible trees: a botched photocopy of itself. Swamp maple, sugar maple, red and white oak; first light lifts the pale yellow flare of a beech tree’s papery leaves. Where are you going ...

The Flaying of Marsyas

Robin​ Robertson

28 April 1994
... pail; some pegs, a coil of wire; a bundle of steel flensing knives. Spreadeagled between two pines, hooked at each hoof to the higher branches, tied to the root by the hands, flagged as his own white cross, the satyr Marsyas hangs. Three stand as honour guard: two apprentices, one butcher. II Let’s have a look at you, then. Bit scrawny for a satyr, all skin and whipcord, is it? Soon find out. So ...

Beside Loch Iffrin

Robin​ Robertson

22 October 2014
... found young Neil MacLean, the stammerer, roped to a tree, libbed, with his tongue shelled out of his head, dressed in red icicles; Betty Campbell frozen solid in her bath, forehead scored with the cross. I saw Macaulay’s mare with the bleed on the brain going round her field faster and faster till she bolted straight into the stable wall. I saw a fox with a firebrand tied to its tail going over ...

Sing the Rat

Ted Hughes

18 February 1982
... Who demolishes the crust, and does not fail To sign the spilt flour The rat, the rat, the ratatatat The house’s poltergeist, shaped like a shuttle Who longs to join the family Sing his bright face, cross-eyed with eagerness His pin-fingers, that seem too small for the job Sing his split nose, that looks so sore O sing his fearless ears, the listener in the wall Let him jump on your head, let him ...

Robin’s Hoods

Patrick Wormald

5 May 1983
Robin​ Hood 
by J.C. Holt.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 500 25081 2
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The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury’s ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie’ 
by John Scott.
Boydell, 224 pp., £25, January 1982, 9780851151540
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by John Michell.
Thames and Hudson, 168 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 9780500012611
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... last has any claim to be in a real sense true (and even that has only recently been rescued from understandable scepticism by painstaking scholarship). The legends discussed in these books concern Robin Hood, the early history of Glastonbury, and the meaning of the megaliths. Such material poses problems for the professional historian or archaeologist: is it worth the trouble to debunk what are ...

Slice of Life

Colin Burrow: Robin​ Robertson

30 August 2018
The Long Take 
by Robin​ Robertson.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.99, February 2018, 978 1 5098 4688 7
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... Robin Robertson​ is something of a specialist in pain. He usually describes what painful events look like from the outside rather than how they feel from within. It’s often as though sufferers are so ...
28 June 1990
A.A. Milne: His Life 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 554 pp., £17.50, June 1990, 0 571 13888 8
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... itself in derision and disgust. A.A. Milne’s favourite novel was Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh, which came out in 1903, not much more than a decade before the begetting of Christopher Robin, in fact and in fiction. Milne may well have thought that he was destroying for ever that awful old father and son relationship, blowing away the tyranny and obfuscation, showing that age doesn’t ...

Dionysus in Love

Robin​ Robertson

5 April 2012
... those muscles of his tighten in the flank and flip him over, so he could lie still under that weight. Dionysus held back at the sprint, to watch: the god of spark and springheel, the god who would cross continents with a single step stood still, and with one breath blew speed into his love’s young body, lifting it over the line. Their race in the red river was the last test, and glowing Ampelos ...
20 June 1985
Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... a power as they wanted to be. Despite the reputed ‘mingling of classes’, rich and poor had not submerged their prejudices against each other. All sections of the community enjoyed a good grumble. RobinCross’s VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945, a commemorative volume which is stronger on domestic than on military matters, notes how queues formed for bread on the very day itself – food shortages ...

Brexit and Myths of Englishness

James Meek: For England and St George

11 October 2018
... Of the two​ folk-myths bound up with Englishness, the myth of St George and the myth of Robin Hood, the myth of St George is simpler. Robin Hood is a process; St George is an event. Robin Hood steals from the rich, which is difficult, to give to the poor, which is trickier still, and has to keep on doing it over and over; but St George kills the dragon, and that’s it. Before the ...

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