This major new literary study offers a fresh view of the significance of the famous group of fourteenth-century poems, 'Pearl', 'Cleanness', 'Patience' and 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. It is a comprehensive study which puts the poems themselves firmly at its centre, though it is always alert to relevant aspects of their literary and cultural context. John Anderson builds his discussions of the poems' ideas on an examination of the anonymous poet's superb Shakespeare-like language. He finds that the great fourteenth-century struggle, between religious and secular forces for control of men's minds, underlies all the poems.
This title is the first in the new Manchester Medieval Literature series, which makes readability a priority. Accordingly, despite its wide range of reference and the radicalism of some of its leading ideas, this book is written in a jargon-free style designed to appeal to specialist, non-specialist and student readers alike. -- .
J. J. Anderson is Senior Lecturer in English Language at the University of Manchester -- .
Preface Introduction Pearl: The last shall be first Cleanness: The wages of sin Patience: The lord giveth, the lord taketh away Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: The beautiful lie Abbreviations and Select Bibliography Index -- .