The late 14th century produced a crop of brilliant writers: Chaucer, Langland and Gower. Their achievement was rivalled only by a series of four works generally agreed to have been written by a single northern author, known as the Gawain-Poet. This book introduces the reader to the Gawain-poet's four surviving works: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, Pearl and Cleanness. The four poems are made accessible to the student by setting them in their relevant historical and cultural context and by developing some lines of critical argument. All studies are based on the author's own research and translations.
"This is an excellent book, which will serve as a sound and lively introduction for students, but also makes an impressive and substantial contribution to scholarly study of the Gawain-poet." English Studies "Ad Putter's Introduction is aimed at undergraduates and provides clearly written and largely independent critical introductions to the four poems." - TLS
Preface Note on References and Abbreviations Acknowledgements 1. The Gawain-Poet in Context Introduction; The Poet's Reading; The Poet's way of Reading; The Poet in the Text: A humble cleric; The Poet in the Text: A Court-Poet; Dialect and Metre: The Gawain-Poet's Remoteness; A Historical Context for Alliterative Poetry 2. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Introduction; Romance and Realism; Plot-telling and the Manipulation of Memory; Conclusion 3. Patience Introduction; Suffrance in the Prologue; The Gawain-Poet as a reader of the Bible; Dramatic Irony in the Story of Jonah; God and Man; From Revelation to Trust; 4. Pearl Introduction; Making Heaven Strange: The Description of Heaven; Reason and revelation: The Debate about Heaven; The Unkindness of Heaven; Patience and Protest in the Epilogue 5. Cleanness Introduction; Uncleanness and the Confusion of Kinds; Imitating God; The Beauty of Destruction; Cleaness and Knowing One's Place; Embodying Culture Bibliography