The Works of the Gawain Poet: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness, Patience (Penguin Classics)

November 15, 2019 - Comment

A new volume of the works of the Gawain poet, destined to become the definitive edition for students and scholars. This volume brings together four works of the unknown fourteenth-century poet famous for the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in their original Middle English. In one of the great tales of medieval

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A new volume of the works of the Gawain poet, destined to become the definitive edition for students and scholars.

This volume brings together four works of the unknown fourteenth-century poet famous for the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in their original Middle English. In one of the great tales of medieval literature, Gawain, the noblest knight of King Arthur’s court, must keep a deadly bargain with a monstrous knight and resist the advances of his host’s beautiful wife. The dream vision of Pearl depicts a bereaved father whose lost child leads him to glimpse heaven. And in moral poems based on stories from the Bible, Cleanness warns against sins of the flesh and of desecration, while Patience encourages readers to endure suffering as God’s will.

Little is known about the so-called ‘Gawain poet’, who wrote during the late fourteenth century. It is believed that he came from south-east Cheshire, an important cultural and economic centre at the time, and he was clearly well-read in Latin, French and English. Although he is not named as the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Patience, Cleanness, the four works have been attributed to him based on a careful comparison of their language, date and themes.

Myra Stokes was formerly Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Bristol University. Her books include Justice and Mercy in Piers Plowman and The Language of Jane Austen.

Ad Putter teaches at the English Department and the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Bristol, where is Professor of Medieval English Literature. His monographs include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and French Arthurian Romance and An Introduction to the Gawain Poet, and he is also co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legend.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Not for kindle I feel I had all of these in paperback, and decided to buy this kindle edition. It doesn’t really work for me on kindle and I wish I’d kept my old paperback copies instead of sending them down to Oxfam. Ah well I’ll have to lash out on this new editon in paperback. Its very rare for me to find something that doesn’t work on my kindle, or more correctly perhaps doesn’t work the way I want it to work. But – if you want this book I would suggest you buy it in paperback!

Anonymous says:

Five Stars A wonderful book!

Anonymous says:

Useful, yet not the future ‘definitive edition’ which Penguin presents it as. On the whole, this is a useful book. The editors, who have both published widely on the Gawain poet, provide support to the reader in the form of elaborate lexical and interpretative notes which are based on up-to-date scholarship. It should be noted, however, that the language of the four texts is challenging for the vast majority of readers. Foot- and endnotes cannot wholly remedy this, so that the casual reader may be better off tracking down a copy of Barron’s edition of Sir Gawain and the…

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