First edition of this important early collection of sources on Robin Hood – and the first publication to create a "literary life" of the figure from the consolidated folklore.
"The figure who had been indelibly but fleetingly associated with proverbs, places, songs, and stories was now enshrined in a solid volume of life and deeds. A myth had become biography." – Stephen Knight
One of the earliest publications to anthologize the ballads, histories, romances, and plays on the theme of Robin Hood, this book went a step further and turned those disparate elements into a single coherent image of the noble outlaw we know today: "The impact of Ritson's book as a single entity embracing both gentrified life and bold deeds was a major stage in the long development and variation of the outlaw hero" (Knight). Arguably the most influential publication on the celebrated English outlaw.
Read more: Knight, Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography, 96.
London: Printed for T. Egerton, Whitehall, and J. Johnson, St. Pauls-Church-Yard, 1795. Full title: Robin Hood: a collection of all the ancient poems, songs, and ballads, now extant, relative to that celebrated English outlaw: to which are prefixed historical anecdotes of his life. Two octavo volumes. 7.5'' x 4.5'' each. Original full polished mottled calf (volume one sympathetically rebacked with original spine laid down), gilt-ruled boards, gilt-stamped spines, red goatskin spine labels. Marbled endpapers, brown silk ribbon markers. Illustrated by Bewick throughout with headpieces, tailpieces, and vignettes in black and white. Lacking half titles. One page of ads after table of contents in volume II, errata at end of volume II. , cxx , 220,  pages. Old dealer description and late 19th-century bookplate on front pastedown. Faint infrequent foxing.
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