By Derek Brewer, Jonathan Gibson
The essays accrued right here at the Gawain-Poet supply stimulating introductions to Sir Gawain and the golf green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness and persistence, delivering either info and unique research. subject matters contain theories of authorship; the historic and social historical past to the poems, with person sections on quite very important positive aspects 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 guidelines of courtesy and chivalry discovered inside it, and explores a few of its later variations from the 15th to the 20 th centuries. a whole bibliography completes the amount.
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Extra resources for A companion to the Gawain-poet
Yet both these poems are quite as much laudations, justifications of God's ways to men, as condemnations of vice. There is nothing in Cleanness of the dreary and sometimes nauseous advocacy of virginity found in some other medieval writings. The poet certainly says that the sins of the flesh are the worst (thereby differing from most medieval and most modern thought), but there is nothing neurotic in his condemnation of uncleanness. His aim is to 'commend cleanness', just as, in Patience, he sets out to praise (since he has no choice) Poverty (47), and works through to the conclusion in his last line that 'Patience is a noble point'.
This last is not a virtue with any resonance in the modern world, but in the logic of the story chastity is the magic that equalises Gawain with the Green Knight's Page 17 magic ability to survive decapitation. ) Such is certainly the underlying structure of the story. If he had been seduced it would have meant that in every sense he had lost his head. It should also be remembered that chastity is a main theme in Cleanness. Most modern critics prefer to emphasise Gawain's trawthe signifying more than modern truth, and implying a profound integrity.
Arthur is even boyish ('childgered') in his enthusiasm. There are critics who find this enthusiasm for Arthur's court ironical on the poet's part, and suspect that the poet is being critical, though I do not recollect that the equally boyish horse-play of the middle-aged Bertilak is ever condemned. Perhaps we should ask ourselves if there is not a vein of seventeenth-century Puritanical condemnation of ceremony, a utilitarian condemnation of the 'aestheticisation' of social life, in such criticism.
A companion to the Gawain-poet by Derek Brewer, Jonathan Gibson