Splitting Time's Arrow: Cultural History and the Robin Hood Myth


  • Stephen Knight


In a recently published book I have attempted to describe the many formations in the Robin Hood tradition, and to give some account of their interrelationship, both with themselves and with the social contexts that produced and consumed them. 1 As a result of that work there are two residual and interrelated issues I want to pursue separately. One is methodological, one is thematic. In methodological terms I want to reflect on the appropriate ways to conduct an analysis of this kind in cultural history, especially what type of history or historicising is most appropriate. And secondly, and as a result of settling on an answer to that question, I want to give some overall account of the main formative forces in the Robin Hood tradition, how they have changed over time, and in particular how they were re-formed at the start of the nineteenth century, and so reshaped the myth into its lively modem form.