Tag Archives: Green Knight

Kindle Edition now available for The Court in English Alliterative Poetry

The Court in English Alliterative Poetry, 1350-1450

Unfortunately no preview available for the Kindle version!

Here’s the synopsis though in case you’re interested:

My thesis aims to explore certain links between literature and society in the portrayal of courtly society in a group of alliterative texts: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyn, Morte Arthure, Wars of Alexander and the Gest Historiale of the Destruction of Troy. The thesis will look at the social function of the texts and how they affect their audience. I will suggest that the particular style and content of the poems encourages aspiration to a material courtly culture and that they also give moral instruction on how to live nobly. I will suggest that the audience for these poems consists of provincial gentry and lower nobility, not overly familiar with the ways of the royal court, and so in need of instruction into the ways of courtly culture. Therefore these poems have been written in a way which is specially adapted to the social needs of their audience.

In the introduction I will outline the development of the court in the late Middle Ages, the possible audience for the poems and the descriptive style of alliterative verse. In chapter one I will look at descriptions of personal appearance and clothes in the poems and how these descriptions are both materially aspirational and morally instructive. In chapter two I will examine how the different types of court buildings in the poems convey particular ideas about the nature of the court. Chapter three consists of a discussion of the ideal feast which was bacsed on opulence, but also moderation. In chapter four I will look at how the poems conveyed the political aspirations of the gentry and provincial nobility in regard to their king.

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Sir Gawain and Green Knight page published at Stupor Mundi

I have now published a page for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight at my Stupor Mundi website. 

Here’s my synopsis of the poem:
“The poem starts at Christmas at the court of King Arthur. A visitor comes to the hall, the Green Knight, and offers to let anyone strike him who will suffer a return blow a year and a day later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge, beheads the Green Knight. However, the knight picks up his own head and reminds Gawain to come to his castle in a year and a day. The poem’s narrative then follows the journey of Gawain to the Green Knight’s castle and the events at the castle. The Green Knight shows Gawain great hospitality, and his wife, Lady Bertilak, offers her own form of hospitality as well. Gawain is torn between showing proper courtly responses to the lady’s come-ons and not offending his host. Eventually the day comes when Gawain must receive the return blow from the Green Knight.”