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

By Derek Brewer, Jonathan Gibson

The essays accrued the following at the Gawain-Poet supply stimulating introductions to Sir Gawain and the golf green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness and persistence, offering either info and unique research. issues contain theories of authorship; the historic and social historical past to the poems, with person sections on fairly vital beneficial properties inside of them; gender roles within the poems; the manuscript itself; the metre, vocabulary and dialect of the poems; and their resources. a piece dedicated to Sir Gawain investigates the information of courtesy and chivalry came across inside it, and explores a few of its later diversifications from the 15th to the 20 th centuries. an entire bibliography completes the amount.

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Extra resources for A companion to the Gawain-poet

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The harshness of experience is partly met by the simplest and most widespread of reality-principles. In this life you must take the rough with the smooth, and put a good face upon it, as in that admirable proverb attributed in the twelfth century to Alfred: 'Tell your sorrows to your saddle-bow, and ride singing forth'. It is a world that calls for pity, such as God in Patience expresses for the weak and innocent, the little children, women and dumb beasts who should not be destroyed because of the wickedness of men (50119).

His descriptions are not digressions; they are integral to the form, though the form is not the Coleridgean and nineteenth-century 'organic form'. Perhaps I may be permitted to call it 'Gothic'. It relies on amplification, is decorative, relying on well-established themes that are part of the general inheritance, not always closely related to the linear development of the narrative. The poet's enjoyment in describing the violence and hostility of nature, and the technical details of man's thought and activity, is found at an even higher degree in his love of splendour.

In Pearl he represents himself as a father mourning a dead two-year-old child, and in Patience as poor, but both of these might be consonant with his being either clerical or lay. He must have been educated, obviously, and of a certain social standing. He is a courtly poet of some kind of court. Perhaps these very uncertainties about him that we experience reflect ambiguities in his own experience which contributed to the rich paradoxes and internal tensions of the poetry. The society in and for which he wrote is also uncertain.

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