Roger Cottrell's Reviews > The Outlaw Legend: A Cultural Tradition in Britain, America and Australia

The Outlaw Legend by Graham Seal
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M 50x66
's review
Oct 22, 2008

really liked it

Great stuff. Critical for me is the way that the generic novel evolved hand in hand with the outlaw myth, beginning with Jack Crawford in Georgian London through Tom Jones to Wyatt Earp, etc., in the American West. In part, this was an articulation of primitive rebellion on the part of a largely passive population that could do little to change their lot but I think that something else is at work here - artistically. Villains play a special role in English and English language literature since Shakespeare drew on the medieval miracle play to give us Iago as the Devil (and self reflectibe protagonist) in Othello. It's why the bad guy always gets the best lines in movies from Harry Lime to Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. I could write an academic paper on it. Come to think about it, I did.

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