English 1022E Lecture Notes - Alliterative Verse
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first lecture on the green knight october 26, 2010
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Quest: A perilous journey, both physical and emotional. Readers assume a ‘willing
suspension of disbelief’
Seven Deadly Sins
Long Poem “neither epical in scope how yet wholly lyrical in quality”
-The English Parnassus
Only barbarians don’t erase the board after class - and ratbags!
Three Characteristics of a Romance
1. Simplified characters, recognizable heroes and villains.
2. Exotic Settings (Place, time, unusual class position) Aristocratic World (modern
times: Gossip Girl)
3. Episodic Plots
Three Stages of Quests
1. Perilous Journey
2. Encounter; Major physical battle
3. Exultation of hero (hero is rewarded for something) Often ends in a marriage
- Narrative Poem tells a story
-Quests can be for freedom (Thelma and Louise), people, things, quest for the holy grail
-Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is much more complex than you would expect
-It wasn’t the view that poor people needed to be helped; they always gave poor people
a ‘spiritual correctiveness’
-“If you fall into this behaviour you will be tested”
-Settings of a Romance are distant from the Here and Now.
-It can also be distant in class or time
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