Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Ad Putter (University of Bristol)
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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


probably also wrote the three other poems extant in the same manuscript:




(q.v.) and


(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 of alliterative poems in this period has strong connections with the north-west…

1175 words

Citation: Putter, Ad. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2001 [, accessed 12 June 2024.]

2056 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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