Robin Hood

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Laurence Belingard (Université d'Avignon)
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The first literary reference to Robin Hood appears in William Langland’s

Piers Plowman

(1377), where Piers claims that although he does not know his

Pater Noster

, he is familiar with rhymes of Robin Hood, thus acknowledging the alleged pagan or at least secular origin of the character through his presence in May Games. Other records reveal the difficulty in assigning Robin Hood to a date and the changing nature of the outlaw. In his rhyming chronicle of Scotland,

The Original Chronicle

completed by 1420, Andrew de Wyntoun refers to Robin as a renowned forest outlaw under the date 1283-85. The Scottish chronicler Walter Bower, continuing John Fordun’s


, describes him as a “famous murderer” operating in 1266. In 1521, John Major, another Scotsman still, gives in his

1460 words

Citation: Belingard, Laurence. "Robin Hood". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 August 2004 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

1463 Robin Hood 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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