A companion to the Gawain-poet by Derek Brewer, Jonathan Gibson

By Derek Brewer, Jonathan Gibson

The essays amassed the following at the Gawain-Poet supply stimulating introductions to Sir Gawain and the fairway Knight, Pearl, Cleanness and endurance, supplying either details and unique research. themes comprise theories of authorship; the ancient and social heritage to the poems, with person sections on fairly vital positive aspects inside them; gender roles within the poems; the manuscript itself; the metre, vocabulary and dialect of the poems; and their resources. a bit dedicated to Sir Gawain investigates the information of courtesy and chivalry discovered inside of it, and explores a few of its later variations from the 15th to the 20 th centuries. an entire bibliography completes the quantity.

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Indeed, the poet never portrays a court, either on this earth or as a figure of heaven, which is not in festival. In SGGK there are two courts. One is Arthur's. The other is Bertilak's, who is really the Green Knight; though Gawain does Page 12 not know his other shape when he stays at Bertilak's court on his way to meet the Green Knight and take the beheading blow from him. So powerful is the image of the court with the poet that both Arthur's and Bertilak's courts show the same splendid and admirable way of life.

Gawain has obligations in honour to King Arthur, to his host Bertilak and in consequence to their wives. Internally he has obligations to himself, to keep his promise, to his own disadvantage, even when it seems that no one else in the world would know that he had not done so, as the guide suggests (211825). The internal obligations merge into conscience, a sense of guilt, even, Pearsall suggests below, embarrassment. The social and mental structures of honour are of great importance but cannot be pursued further here.

Rather than any implicit or explicit party line, then, there are intriguing convergences and divergences of opinion. Because the essays are essentially self-contained, the order in which the chapters appear has no prescriptive status: the reader can begin anywhere and is invited to browse ad libitum. Each essay contains its own principal references to the consolidated general bibliography, to which a separate list of foreign language translations has been appended. No attempt has been made to construct a general bibliography, which would now require a book to itself.

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