Saturday, January 23, 2010

Green Knight

Ten reasons why the Pearl Poet's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Cotton Nero MS, British Library) is the greatest of all fourteenth century texts produced in English:

1. West Midland English dialect. Any text that regularly utilizes glottal thorns is, by definition, awesome.

2. Alliterative verse. It's pleasing to read and even more pleasing to hear.

3. Manuscript illustrations (see above).

4. Best arming-of-the-hero scene. Even his helmet gets a verse paragraph.

5. His horse is named Gringolet.

6. Morgan le Fay is involved in a significant way.

7. Bertilak, the Green Knight, exchanges kisses with Gawain.

8. A green girdle gets significant narrative play.

9. The "love-talking" scenes between Gawain and the lady are medieval erotic psychology.

10. A character picks up his own heads and rides away with it.


ContainsCaffeine said...

Glottal stop!

Dr. said...

that always makes me think of the episode of Buffy (Season 7) where she gets the axe, and Giles yells out: "Glottal stop!"