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Title: Changing the rules of the game : Chaucer and the Gawin-poet against aggression
Authors: Parsons, Ben
First Published: Apr-2013
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Citation: Parsons, B., ‘Changing the rules of the game : Chaucer and the Gawin-poet against aggression’ in , Bleach, L.; Borrill, K. (eds.) Battle and bloodshed: the Medieval world at war (© Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 199-214
Abstract: This paper focuses on the treatment of war-games in the final sections of Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, in order to account for the profoundly ambivalent terms in which they frame aggression. Although the two romances assume that violence can be used in a broadly diagnostic manner, as a method of authenticating one’s honour or courage, or of drawing fate into light, they also open this idea up to difficult questions. While each text concludes with a trial involving some form of violence, it also overrules the findings of these tests, abruptly subordinating them to larger trials which follow different rules, criteria, and procedures. This peculiar pattern is considered against the persistent but overlooked strand of scepticism towards violence found throughout medieval culture. In particular, the texts are read against contemporary opposition to tournaments, voiced elsewhere by John Bromyard, Ralph Niger, and the anonymous author of Wynnere and Wastoure. The paper concludes that the poets are driven to echo these concerns by their connection to Richard II’s court, and the revision of chivalric values this context necessitated.
ISBN: 1443846090
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © 2013 by Lorna Bleach, Keira Borrill and contributors.
Description: The file associated with this record is embargoed while permission to archive is sought from the publisher. The final published version may be available through the links above.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, Dept. of English

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