The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Blanch, Robert J. "Supplement to the Gawain-Poet: An Annotated Bibliography, 1978-1985." 25 (1991): 363-86.
This bibliography fills the need of medievalists for a more complete bibliography of criticism on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Purity, and Patience.
Donner, Morton. "The Gawain-Poet's Adverbs." 26 (1991): 65-82.
The alliterative tradition uses more flat adverbs than adjectives and requires them to carry more weight. Adverbs are particularly useful in alliterative verse because they can modify intransitive verbs and non-alliterative subjects or objects. Adverbs also work to "keep the sound of [the] words in harmony with their syntax" (68). The Pearl-Poet also uses dual-form adverbs, inflected adverbs, and adverb pairs in a variety of patterns throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Purity.
O'Mara, Philip F. "Robert Holcot's 'Ecumenism' and the Green Knight." 26 (1992): 329-42.
Holcot's works and theology deeply affect the works of the Pearl-Poet. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains both piety and revels and is built around paradoxical characters and events. Though Bercilak is a pagan, the poet seems to suggest that he is "in the way of salvation" (333). Holcot and other fourteenth-century theologians argued about how good deeds related to the salvation of the unsaved. Holcot believed that God could grant salvation to someone who was not baptized as did mystics like Walter Hilton and Julian of Norwich who held similar and sometimes stronger views of God's love. Both Patience and Pearl deal with salvation of the unsaved or the untaught, as does St. Erkenwald, another poem of the alliterative revival.
Reed, Thomas L., Jr. "'Bo[th]e blysse and blunder': Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Debate Tradition." 23 (1988): 140-61.
The Pearl-Poet built Sir Gawain and the Green Knight on a dialogic structure that suggests the poem's affinities with the debate tradition. That the poet does not reach any real conclusions does not disqualify the poem as a debate, since many debate poems do not reach resolution. The poet presents events from many angles. Gawain's use of various magical defensive devices suggests a dialogue between chivalry and Christianity. Given sources and analogues like the Owl and the Nightingale, Winner and Waster, the "Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie," the Parliament of the Three Ages, and Ressoning betuix Age and Yowth, readers may see the poem as a series of arguments between youth and age, spring and winter, life and death. Gawain's experience with Lady Bercilak brings to mind the débat amoreux. Gawain is also tried in verbal argument. Other poems grouped with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Patience, show similar debate structures. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is most likely a kind of recreation, as demonstrated by the Christmas games of Arthur's court.
Stanbury, Sarah. "Space and Visual Hermeneutics in the Gawain-Poet." 21 (1987): 476-89.
In Pearl, Patience, Purity, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the poet uses circumscribed space. The characters move through these spaces, discovering hints to spiritual sight and recognizing how the spiritual encloses the physical. The poet employs the frequently used image of the edifice as spiritual work, and thresholds as transition points. Saints come to represent thresholds or points of change and mediate between man and God. Physical enclosures denote the limits of knowledge.
Stokes, Myra. "'Suffering' in Patience." 18 (1984): 354-64.
Though readers call this poem Patience, the work is more about suffering in at least three senses of the word. The poet presents the story of Jonah in such a way as to reinforce the value of obeying God, since obedience will occur whether it is voluntary or not.