Outlaw Heroes in Myth and History

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Anthem Press, 2011 - Social Science - 232 pages
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This book is an overview and analysis of the global tradition of the outlaw hero. The mythology and history of the outlaw hero is traced from the Roman Empire to the present, showing how both real and mythic figures have influenced social, political, economic and cultural outcomes in many times and places. The book also looks at the contemporary continuations of the outlaw hero mythology, not only in popular culture and everyday life, but also in the current outbreak of global terrorism.

The book also presents a more general argument related to the importance of understanding folk and popular mythologies in historical contexts. Outlaw heroes have a strong purchase in high and popular culture, appearing in film, books, plays, music, drama, art, even ballet. To simply ignore and discard such powerful expressions without understanding their origins, persistence and especially their ongoing cultural consequences, is to refuse the opportunity to comprehend some profoundly important aspects of human behaviour. These issues are pursued through discussion of the processes through which real and mythical outlaw heroes are romanticised, sentimentalised, sanitised, commodified and mythologised. The result is a new position in the continuing controversy over the existence the 'social bandit' that highlights the central role of mythology in the creation and perpetuation of outlaw heroes.

 

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Contents

The Outlawed Hero
1
Myths and Histories
13
Before Robin Hood
15
Heroic Types
25
Medieval Marauders
35
Myth and History
49
Politics and Identities
61
Contested Frontiers
63
Legends and Commodities
121
Afterlives
123
Consuming Outlaws
137
Lethal Legends
151
The Global Outlaw
163
The Robin Hood Principle
165
The Common Good
175
Notes
185

Troubled Borders
77
Identities
89
Kingdoms in Miniature
105
Select Bibliography
207
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About the author (2011)

Graham Seal is Professor of Folklore and Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific (CASAAP) at Curtin University, Australia. He received his BA (Hons) in History from the University of New South Wales, Australia, his MA in Folklife Studies at the University of Leeds, UK, and his PhD from Deakin University, Australia. He has a distinguished national profile as a founder of folklore studies in Australia, and is also a leading and widely-cited international authority on the cultural traditions of the hero. He has had a substantial career in university teaching, research and management and previously worked in government publishing and the music industry.

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