Tag: Arthurian Romances

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.
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Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

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The Development of Arthurian Legends

King Arthur is a well known character of literature and film, and any person on the street could probably recall many aspects of his story. However, the story that so many people know and love is the result of hundreds of years of transformation and manipulation of a legend. It did not begin with much grandiosity or with very much background information.

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Queen Guinevere. A queen through time

According to Hopkins, “[Arthur’s] queen, Guinevere, is more elusive, less written about [than Arthur and his knights], and yet has been for centuries a central character playing a critical role in the rise and fall of the Round Table” (6). He goes on by characterizing her as “a key figure in the life of Camelot, this remarkable woman is seen variably as scholar, seductress, warrior, and dignified gentle beauty by the countless artists and writers who have depicted her. Who, then, was Guinevere?” (10) The purpose of this essay is to answer this question by looking at different texts and novels referring to the Queen.

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Chaucer’s Arthuriana

The majority of medieval scholars, including Roger Sherman Loomis, argue that the popularity of the Arthurian legend in England was therefore on the wane in the latter half of the fourteenth century; as a result, the major writers of the period, such as John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, refrained from penning anything beyond the occasional reference to King Arthur and his court.

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“Well Cut through the Body:” Fitted Clothing in Twelfth·Century Europe

Before we go any farther, we should investigate the very practical suggestion that tightly fitted clothing resulted from developments in “cutting and sewing technology.” In the case of twelfth­ century Europe, however, it seems there was no real change in the tools of the trade; for example, iron shears, which might seem primitive, continued to be used by tailors into the late middle ages.