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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: and I'm Neil. Hello.

  • Alice: Hello, Neil. Now what do you know about Robin Hood?

  • Neil: OK. Well, he wore green tights.

  • Alice: Yes, he did.

  • Neil: He was good at archery... he had a girlfriend called Maid Marion.

  • He was Englishalthough he sometimes he has an American accent in Hollywood films.

  • Alice: Yes.

  • Neil: There was a great Disney cartoon series using animal characters.

  • Robin and Maid Marion were foxes.

  • Alice: Anything else? What about being an outlaw or criminal?

  • Heroically fighting against injustice and corruption?

  • Neil: Oh yeah, there's all that stuff as wellrobbing the rich and giving to the poor.

  • Yes, yeah... he lived in Sherwood Forest with a band of merry men.

  • Alice: Yes, he did. OK, it sounds like you've watched a lot of TV and film versions

  • but haven't read the literature.

  • Neil: Oh, come on, Alice! Have you read the literature?

  • Alice: Yes I have. I studied English at university and one of my spec ialist subjects was medieval literature.

  • The Middle Ages or medieval period lasted in Europe from the 5th to the 15th century.

  • Neil: I see. And I'm guessing that Robin Hood is the subject of today's show?

  • Alice: Absolutely. You're right! So here's a question for you, Neil:

  • When do we find the first reference to Robin Hood in English literature? Was it in the...

  • a) 5th century? b) 10th century?

  • Or c) 14th century?

  • Neil: Well, I'm going to go for the middle oneand that's b) 10th century.

  • Alice: OK. Well, we'll find out if you're right or wrong later on.

  • Now, why do you think the stories of Robin Hood have lasted from the Middle Ages through to the modern day?

  • Neil: Well, I suppose it's got appeal on lots of levelsaction, adventurethere's

  • some comedy stuff there with the merry men. And of course, romance, like I said before.

  • Alice: Yes, indeed. Actually the early versions of Robin Hood were very violent.

  • Let's listen to Professor Thomas Hahn talk about one of the ballads called The Monk.

  • Thomas Hahn: The Monk is, I think for most modern audiences who've either seen movies

  • or read children's stories or whatever, quite disturbing in terms of its levels of violence.

  • In terms of trying to make some comparisons with popular culture it seems to me that it's really

  • at the level of Sopranos in terms of things like dismembered bodies

  • and actual violence and assassinations.

  • Neil: What's a ballad, Alice?

  • Alice: Well, It's a song or poem that tells a story. People were telling the stories of

  • Robin Hood for a long time before they were written downand performing them too.

  • Neil: Really? And how about the comparison between the Robin Hood ballads and the Sopranos?

  • Now The Sopranos is a popular US TV series about gangsters. Maybe I should get The Monk

  • on audiobook. What do you think?

  • Alice: Yes, I don't think you'd find it disturbingdisturbing means making

  • you feel upset or shocked. Assassinations are the murder of important people, often

  • for political reasons. And dismembered bodies are bodies that have been cut or torn into pieces.

  • Neil: Right. It sounds like medieval entertainment for guys. You know, like martial arts movies these days.

  • Alice: Well, yes, you may be right. Now do you remember you mentioned Maid Marion at the start of the show?

  • Neil: I do.

  • Alice: Well, actually, in the early ballads there is no Maid Marian. She appears in later

  • versions along with other characters we know well today. But Robin is always a trickster,

  • and a man with a bow in a wood.

  • Neil: A trickster is someone who deceives or cheats people. That's impressive, Alice.

  • You certainly know your medieval ballads.

  • Alice: Yes, I do. So what's so appealing about this man with a bow? Let's listen to Professor Hahn again.

  • Thomas Hahn: What he represents I think is a kind of strong and forceful masculinity

  • that operates on its own terms and for its own interests and that's I think what we admire in these stories.

  • Neil: What does it mean to operate on your own terms, Alice?

  • Alice: Well, Neil, it means to do what you want according to your own rules. And masculinity

  • means the qualities typical of a man. Now, remember my question from earlier? I asked:

  • When do we find the first reference to Robin Hood in English literature? Was it in the...

  • a) 5th century? b) 10th century?

  • Or c) 14th century?

  • Neil: And I said b) 10th century.

  • Alice: Yes, well... I'm afraid you are wrong, Neil.

  • The first reference occurs in the English poet William Langland's book Piers Plowman

  • written between 1370 and 1390. Sloth, the lazy priest, says: "I kan not parfitly my

  • Paternoster as the preest it singeth,/ But I kan rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre."

  • Neil: Well, Alice, can you translate that into modern English, please? Maybe that's for another show.

  • Alice: Maybe another show...

  • Neil: Can we just have today's words again, please?

  • Alice: We certainly can. And we can have those in modern English. OK. Here they are:

  • outlaw

  • medieval period or Middle Ages

  • ballad

  • disturbing

  • assassinations

  • dismembered bodies

  • trickster

  • operate on your own terms

  • masculinity

  • Neil: Well, that brings us to the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • We hope you enjoyed today's walk in the woods.

  • Please do join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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B1 UK alice robin robin hood hood century medieval

BBC 6 Minute English December 03, 2015 - Robin Hood

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/01/28
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