Anonymous: Sir Gowther (2672 words)


Sir Gowther is a Middle English romance which is preserved in two fifteenth-century manuscripts: London, British Library Royal MS 17.B.43, fols. 116a-131b and Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.3.1, fols. 11a-28a. The romance itself was probably composed around 1400 and both manuscript versions are written in twelve-line tail rhyme stanzas and appear to be in dialects from the Northeast Midlands. Although each version tells the same tale, Royal is more refined than Advocates, toning down certain violent episodes and, notably, omitting the detail that Gowther and his men raped a group of nuns at their convent. Some have suggested that this suggests a more cultured audience, possibly with a more sensitive …

Citation: McKinstry, Jamie. "Sir Gowther". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 May 2017 [, accessed 22 October 2020.]

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