A Hero for all Seasons or, Signs of the Times: Robin Hood from Republican to Restoration England

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Revolution”, “Citizenship”, “Nation” ... who dares define them ? How do they interact ? How have they been codified since, say, the early modern period ? For what purposes ? Irrespective of the answers each of us may provide and the meaning(s) one may attach to these keywords, both as theoretical concepts and sociopolitical facts (an aim far beyond the scope, space and length of this paper, but see, for instance, Williams, 1988), it can hardly be denied that, after the creation of the Tudor State, the 17th century played no small part in the (re)shaping of “revolution”, “citizenship” and “nation”. In fact, as the century unfolded, the political, ideological and religious struggle to define the boundaries between State and citizen, king and subject, crown and country, made it increasingly clear that, as far as everyone’s rights, liberties and duties were concerned, a State larger than the Crown and a nation likewise wider than Parliament were not exactly synonymous, if at all. Having said that, my purpose is neither to discuss the concepts of “revolution”, “citizenship” and “nation” as such nor how they were translated into (and ultimately redefined by) the political turmoil of mid seventeenth-century England. What I will try to do then is simply to suggest how in the early 1660s second-class literature and first-rate propaganda have joined forces offering through the Robin Hood legend an apology for the need to replace revolution with restoration, thus healing a nation deeply divided in the previous decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages10
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Robin Hood
  • Restauração inglesa


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