The Fortunes of Sir Gawain

The Fortunes of Sir Gawain

Gawain is a key figure of Arthurian mythology. In the chronicle tradition, he is one of Arthur’s closest lieutenants. But as early as Chrétien de Troyes’ brilliant twelfth-century romances, Gawain could be portrayed as a somewhat louche figure: a knight as valiant in the bedroom as on the battlefield. This multiple and sometimes conflicting set of characteristics gives romance writers an opportunity which they eagerly take up, especially using satire and comedy to provide a sceptical examination of Arthur’s court and its claims to superiority. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a masterpiece of romance storytelling written in the late fourteenth century, the anonymous author combines ethical seriousness, a Christmas beheading game, flirtatious dalliance, and the cold fear inspired by a whetted axe to reflect critically not only on Gawain’s honour, but on the genre of romance writing itself.

Origin Stories
Origin Stories
Romance and the Medieval World
Romance and the Medieval World
Truth, Deceit and Desire
Truth, Deceit and Desire
Empires of Romance: Arthur
Empires of Romance: Arthur
Empires of Romance: Alexander
Empires of Romance: Alexander
The Objects of Romance
The Objects of Romance
Cities under Siege
Cities under Siege
Strange Encounters
Strange Encounters
The Fortunes of Sir Gawain
The Fortunes of Sir Gawain
Composing, Writing, Preserving
Composing, Writing, Preserving
The Percy Folio
The Percy Folio
Routes of Romance I
Routes of Romance I
Routes of Romance II
Routes of Romance II
Romance and the Modern World
Romance and the Modern World