Maid in voyage: Maid Marian and female heroism in twentieth century retellings of the legend of Robin Hood

Evelyn Mooar Perry, University of Rhode Island


The dissertation focuses on folklore, on young adult literature and on popular literature. It contemplates twentieth century retellings of the Robin Hood legend and, more specifically, the suppressed and ignored role of (and therefore the possibility of) the female hero. In that Maid in Voyage also examines how literature affects the social development of both the female reader and the young reader, it underscores the myriad ways in which one must argue for the significance of these very entities Because considerations of voice distort and complicate the reflective and shaping qualities of young adult and adult literature and demand that we give this literature its due critical consideration, and because contemporary twentieth century retellings amend that complicated distortion, this dissertation looks at female and feminist re-appropriations, of the Robin Hood legend in the twentieth century. ^ The dissertation explores the female hero as characterized through Maid Marian and as she has been reimagined by writers influenced by the feminist movement of the twentieth century in response to the traditional, gendered characterization in which we often find her. In turn, this examination considers and describes, via the lens of Maid Marian, how stories of boundary-crossing women are serving as guides for contemporary readers. By pointing out and drawing attention to a consistent limitation of Maid Marian's heroism in the legend, in Chapter One, the dissertation discusses literary and social roles as potentially restrictive; by including sections of fiction, in Chapter Two, in which the legend is retold from Maid Marian's point of view, and by examining how both approaches have been employed in the college-level classroom in Chapter Three, the dissertation ultimately argues that, despite their disparate genres, both critical and creative feminist approaches endeavor to do the same thing: to address and to correct restrictive representations of women in literature. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Comparative|Literature, Modern

Recommended Citation

Evelyn Mooar Perry, "Maid in voyage: Maid Marian and female heroism in twentieth century retellings of the legend of Robin Hood" (1999). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI9960031.