Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Part I

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Authors
Wallis, Caleb
Advisor
Graham, Loren
Editor
Date of Issue
2023-04-28
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Citation
Series/Report No.
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Title
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Part I
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Type
Presentation
Description
Abstract
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a 14th century chivalric romance poem written in Middle English with a combination of alliterative and rhyming meter. Despite the poem’s popularity in recent media, this is all of what we know about The Green Knight’s history. When it comes to other popular mythological pieces such as The Odyssey, a title of distinct authorship gives these poems a defined time and style, which in turn leads to a figure of authority over the poem itself. Even many poems without an author, such as Beowulf, still manage to retain such a figure through their continued use in academic and popular spaces, as seen in the prominence of translators such as Chickering and Heaney. The Green Knight, however, not only has an absent author, but also any major figure of authority. No one owns The Green Knight in the way Homer owns the Odyssey, nor is anyone The Green Knight’s academic standard in the way Chickering’s translation is for Beowulf. This creates an immediate draw for any translator seeking to work with medieval source material, as such a lack of authority means that, through the skill and style of a talented translator, The Green Knight can be made one’s own in a way that The Odyssey cannot. In this light, I will be presenting my own translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This translation is in modern prose and seeks to combine both medieval and modern language with the poem’s existing alliterative style.
Sponsors
Degree Awarded
Semester
Spring
Department
English