In this work, I discuss the management of the initial iconic peritext of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in a paper edition, a translation, and a digital facsimile. Writing from the perspective of cognitive narratology, I argue that the miniature is not a disposable illustration but a framing border, the (non) reproduction of which in each modern rendition of the text has different consequences on the mental processes involved in reading the poem.
Scholarship on the Pearl-poem has seen a significant jump in recent years, due largely to the influx of eco-critical readings throughout Medieval studies. Gillian Rudd’s recent book Greenery: Ecocritical Readings of Late Medieval English Literature explores a new and exciting reading of the poem’s natural environment, claiming that the rose metaphor which dominates the second section reveals a new reading of who the Pearl Maiden might be, while poet’s other major work, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, has been, in many ways, the flagship text for eco-medieval-critics. However, exploring the two texts together, as individual parts of literary eco-system, reveals that there is much more to say about the Pearl-poet’s relationship to nature and the effect this has on his (or her) work as a whole. This paper will focus both on the place of the Pearl-poem in the larger genre of dream vision literature and on the role of natural aesthetic in the Dreamer’s grieving process. Cornerstones of this research will include Robert Pogue Harrison’s The Dominion of the Dead and his concept of objectification as way to assuage grief, Carolyn Dinshaw and her eco-critical work relating the Green Knight to the cloister heads in Northern England, and Paul Peihler’s concept of the purpose of visionary literature. Examining the landscape of Pearl, in conjunction with the natural environments of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which act as a penetrating force into the relative calm of Arthur’s human court, I will to reveal the poet’s intentions of creating a defamiliarizing eco-aesthetic whose ultimate purpose is to mitigate the psychological damage of losing a loved one.
English Alliterative Verse tells the story of the medieval poetic tradition that includes Beowulf, Piers Plowman, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, stretching from the eighth century, when English poetry first appeared in manuscripts, to the sixteenth century, when alliterative poetry ceased to be composed. Eric Weiskott draws on the study of meter to challenge the traditional division of medieval English literary history into ‘Old English’ and ‘Middle English’ periods. The two halves of the alliterative tradition, divided by the Norman Conquest of 1066, have been studied separately since the nineteenth century; this book uses the history of metrical form and its cultural meanings to bring the two halves back together. In combining literary history and metrical description into a new kind of history he calls ‘verse history,’ Weiskott reimagines the historical study of poetics. CONTENTS Introduction: The Durable Alliterative Tradition 1 Beowulf and Verse History 2 Prologues to Old English Poetry 3 Lawman, the Last Old English Poet and the First Middle English Poet 4 Prologues to Middle English Alliterative Poetry 5 The Erkenwald Poet’s Sense of History 6 The Alliterative Tradition in the Sixteenth Century Conclusion: Whose Tradition?
Medieval Romance, Arthuriana, Armor and Corporeal Assemblage, New Structuralisms, Cultural Imaginaries, Medieval and Early Modern Materiality
Semi-retired professor emeritus from Virginia Military Institute, currently teaching occasionally at James Madison University.
history of the book, scribal practices, early reader marginalia, social history of reading and writing, medieval and early modern literacy and numeracy, Chaucer, Malory, Pearl/Gawain-Poet, and keeping squirrels out of my tomato plants
Analyzes Spenser’s Red-Cross Knight and Shakespeare’s Edgar as chivalric knights in the tradition of English chivalric romance, and compares these writers’ attitudes toward the knights and the chivalry which they represent. Finds that, contrary to common interpretation, Spenser is the more modern, Shakespeare the more medieval, in their regard for chivalric knighthood.