The Gawain Poet

Course Dates: 22/03/20
Time: 11:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Steven Breeze

We know almost nothing about the brilliant poet from North West England who wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness and Patience. We do know that the quality of his work is parallel to that of Chaucer, his 14th Century contemporary; this course aims to find out how and why.


What is the course about?

We will consider key passages in the poems of the Gawain Poet, identifying his language, imagery, style, themes and symbolism. We will also consider how structure plays a significant part in his poetry’s meaning. We will also look at the only manuscript still around containing his work, which has a fascinating history of its own.

What will we cover?

The Gawain poet as regional poet
Symbolism and themes: nature, courtly love, the pentangle
The dialect of the poem
The manuscript and what it tells us about the poet.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Identify the idiosyncrasies of the Gawain poet’s language.
Explain the main themes and concerns of his works
Relate the poems to their historical context
Compare the Gawain poet with his contemporaries.
Be aware of the significant poets who have translated his work, including J.R.R. Tolkien and Simon Armitage.
Explain the style of the poems, and their structure.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for beginners. Although this course considers medieval English writing, it is not technical and requires no specific knowledge of linguistics or linguistic terms.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Presentation, group discussion, and literary analysis using provided material. No work will be set outside the class, though suggestions for further reading will be provided.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You can bring pen and paper but course notes will be provided. All texts we will look at will also be provided in handouts.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at other literature courses on the web under History, Culture and Writing at

Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: HLT46

Sun, day, 22 Mar - 22 Mar '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £30.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.