Anonymous: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

(1178 words)
  • Ad Putter (University of Bristol)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the finest Arthurian romance in Middle English, survives in a single manuscript, British Library, Cotton Nero A. x. The anonymous author of Gawain probably also wrote the three other poems extant in the same manuscript: Pearl (q.v.), Cleanness (q.v.) and Patience (q.v.). The manuscript was copied around 1400, not very long after the Cotton Nero poems were composed. The evidence from dialect is that the poet came from Cheshire or Staffordshire. The poem is written in alliterative long lines, arranged into stanzas of variable length. All stanzas end in a bob (a two- or three-syllable line) preceded by a wheel (here a quatrain), the bob and wheel rhyming ababa. The corpus o…

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Putter, Ad. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2001
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Arthurian Literature