In Collaboration with The Nicholson Center for British Studies
The Program in Medieval Studies
Professor of English Southeastern Louisiana University
“The Green Knight in York”
Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4.30 p.m. CWAC 157
Free and open to the public
One of the greatest manuscript treasures for medieval literature, the British Library’s Cotton Nero A. x, contains four poems we now ascribe to one poet: Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Patience, and Cleanness. A substantial body of new evidence—decoration, scribal dialect, and the script itself—argues that Cotton Nero as we now have it was produced, at least partially and possibly in toto, in York in the early fifteenth century. This evidence refutes many assumptions about the Gawain-poet’s connections to Cheshire and to the Ricardian court underpinning our readings of these poems. This evidence also argues for new readings of the poem’s reception in the early reign of Henry IV, and in the calamitous context of York and Yorkshire during Henry’s first decade.