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Approaches to Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Editor(s): Miriam Youngerman Miller, Jane Chance

Pages: xii & 256 pp.
Published: 1986
ISBN: 9780873524926

"As a plan of study for teaching, Approaches to [Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight] will not easily be surpassed."
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

"This book eliminates any excuse medievalists or others might have for failing to make the poem shine in all its craft and ambiguity. For sophomore surveys to upper-division and graduate courses, this volume is simply the place to begin rethinking our presentation of the 'lel letteres loken.'"
Studies in the Age of Chaucer

The casebound edition of this title is out of print.

One of the most widely taught medieval English poems, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight still provides many challenges for teachers. What is the best way to explain to students its alliteration and unusual stanzaic form? Why does the poet begin with the fall of Troy? On what Arthurian tradition is the author drawing? Would the lady's behavior have been conventional in the Middle Ages? Why does Arthur's court laugh in the end--is the poem a comedy? In this volume, twenty-four teachers offer strategies for successfully presenting the perplexities of Sir Gawain in a variety of courses.

Like other books in the Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, Approaches to Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is divided into two parts. Part 1, "Materials," surveys materials useful to classroom instruction, such as translations, anthologies, reference works, and teaching aids. Part 2, "Approaches," begins with background essays on teaching the poem within the traditions of romance, chivalry, courtly love, religion and law, and medieval aesthetics. The essays that follow discuss ways to include the poem, both in translation and in the original, in courses ranging from freshman composition to graduate seminars. A final section includes ideas that can be adapted to any class--from reading the poem aloud to sponsoring a medieval banquet.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Miriam Youngerman Miller

Editions and Translations
Middle English Editions
Readings for Students and Instructors
Background Studies
Critical Works
Reference Works

Aids to Teaching



Surprised by Subtlety: A Survey of the Teaching of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Jane Chance

Teaching the Backgrounds

Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the Context of Arthurian and Other Romance Traditions
Maureen Fries

Luf-Talkyng in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Thomas L. Wright

The Breakdown of Chivalry in the Fourteenth Century
Louis Brewer Hall

Religion and Law in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Robert J. Blanch

Medieval Poetics
Richard Hamilton Green

Approaching the Poem in the Classroom

Weavers and Wordsmiths, Tapestries and Translations
Julian N. Wasserman

Lower-Division Undergraduate Courses

Freshman Composition: Epic and Romance
John M. Fyler

Involving Students in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: An Introductory Survey Course for Nonmajors and Non-Liberal Arts Majors
Rosemary Ascherl

"A yere yernes ful yerne": Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the Survey for Majors
Sherron E. Knopp

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a Masterpiece of World Literature
Katharina M. Wilson

Upper-Division Undergraduate Courses (Gawain in Translation)

Gawain and the Middle Ages: Teaching History, Teaching Genre
Peggy A. Knapp

The Literature of King Arthur and Camelot
Victoria L. Weiss

Tolkien and His Sources
Jane Chance

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and a Course in Literary Criticism
John M. Ganim

Dual-Level (Undergraduate-Graduate) and Graduate Courses (Gawain in the Original)

Introduction to Medieval Culture
Julia Bolton Holloway

Late Medieval Literature: Ricardian Poetry
Penelope B. R. Doob

The Celtic Heritage of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Jeffrey F. Huntsman

A Graduate Seminar in the Gawain Poet and the Alliterative Revival: A Stylistic Approach to Gawain
Anne Howland Schotter

Alliterative Literature
Edward B. Irving, Jr.

Specific Approaches

Reading the Poem Aloud
Marie Borroff

Visual Approaches to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Donald K. Fry

Researched Visual Projects
Judith Bronfman

The Medieval Banquet
Patricia A. Moody

Works Cited


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