Southeastern Medieval Association/SEMA, 6-8 October 2016
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
International Association for Robin Hood Studies/IARHS- Sponsored Session:
Greenwood Fashion: Clothing, Textiles, Skins, and Furs in the Ongoing Robin Hood Legend
The Robin Hood ballads and other Robin Hood tellings, from the past through the present, often emphasize clothing and accessories, as well as related textiles, skins, and furs. For example, in the medieval Gest of Robyn Hode, Little John becomes the “draper” for the impoverished knight, even giving him well over the “thre yerdes” of “scarlet and grene” which Robin suggests (ll. 277-296) – which also raises the question of what, exactly, the terms “scarlet” and “green” mean in the context of the Gest and the ballads. Clothing continues to figure in the tale of the poor knight, and also in the Third Fytte when Little John tricks the Sheriff into being captured by Robin Hood (ll. 769-784). In the Seventh Fytte, the king and his party disguise themselves as monks in an attempt to trap Robin Hood (ll.1465-1500), a disguise beloved later by filmmakers and other storytellers, just as Marian’s disguising herself as a page in the ballad of “Robin Hood and Maid Marian,” circa 1600, continues in some form in various novels, plays, and films. Then there is the “capull-hyde,/Topp, and tayle, and mayne” in which the bloodthirsty Guy of Gisborne is clothed in the ballad “Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne” (ll.29-30). Clothing continues to be a matter of some importance in the Robin Hood legends, sometimes even serving as psychological markers as, for instance, the bright jeweled flowers on shining black which Olivia de Haviland’s Lady Marian wears when we – and Robin – first see her in the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood, when Marian is sure of herself and her place in society, and confident in that society, as opposed to the somber dark burgundy she wears at Robin’s trial for treason.
For this session, we welcome 20-minute papers from any discipline, including interdisciplinary papers, which examine some aspect(s) of clothing, textiles, skins, and furs in the ongoing Robin Hood legend.