Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Late 14th century

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


  • Intro

    'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is one of the most famous romances in medieval English literature. It tells of the adventures of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table.


    A mysterious  'Green Knight' pays an unexpected visit to Arthur’s court, offering to allow anyone to strike him with an axe if, after exactly one year, the challenger will take a return blow. Gawain accepts the challenge, and beheads the knight in one blow, only to then see him stand up, pick up his own severed head, and remind Gawain to meet him at the appointed time. The story of Gawain's struggle to meet the appointment, and his adventures along the way, demonstrate the spirit of chivalry and loyalty that played a central part in English culture in this period.



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    This unique copy was written in the late 14th century, probably in the northwest Midlands. It relies on a traditional style of English poetry based on alliteration, the repetition of the initial letter across a set of words.The picture shows the Green Knight bursting in on a feast at Camelot.


    Shelfmark: Cotton MS Nero A.x, article 3, ff.94v95.

  • Audio

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