Legs and the Man: The History of a Medieval Motif

  • Richard Firth Green
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The nineteenth-century valetudinarian Thomas Hood is little read today, but he made one significant contribution to the tradition of English letters; he effectively put an end to a venerable literary motif — that of the bellicose amputee.1 Hood’s poem “Faithless Nellie Gray,” published in 1826,2 opens in dramatic style:

Ben Battle was a soldier bold,

And used to war’s alarms;

But a cannon-ball took off his legs,

So he laid down his arms!


English Letter Commonplace Book Tall Tale Mediaeval Romance Read Today 
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Copyright information

© R. F. Yeager and Toshiyuki Takamiya 2012

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  • Richard Firth Green

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