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Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is a PhD candidate at Leeds Trinity University. His thesis examines 18th- and 19th-century Robin Hood texts. His other research interests include the history of crime, in particular the offences of outlawry and highway robbery, as well as 18th- and 19th-century print culture.

Lilliburlero – The Biggest Hit of the 17th Century

In the seventeenth and eighteenth century people of all classes listened to what we might now call folk songs. In The Spectator in 1711, Joseph Addison remarked how, for instance, the ballad of The Two Children in the Wood was not only ‘one of the darling songs of the common people’ but also ‘the delight of most Englishmen in some …

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The 17th-Century Game of Thrones: John Dryden’s King Arthur (1691)

Kings, queens, dragons, and swordfights; John Dryden (1631-1700) was the seventeenth century counterpart to George R. R. Martin. His play King Arthur, or the British Worthy (1691) is a piece of pure medieval fantasy. With an elegant score composed by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), the play tells the tale of Arthur attempting to drive the Saxons out of Britain. Yet the …

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Inventing an Outlaw: Joseph Ritson’s Robin Hood (1795)

Most people have heard of Robin Hood. He is the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon who (supposedly) lived in the 13th century during the reigns of King Richard the Lionheart and King John. He lived in Sherwood Forest with his band of ‘merrie men,’ and they stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Yet this is an image of …

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