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 www.citylit.ac.uk.