This is an innovative and original exploration of the connections between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one of the most well-known works of medieval English literature, and the tradition of French Arthurian romance, best-known through the works of Chretien de Troyes two centuries earlier.The book compares Gawain with a wide range of French Arthurian romances, exploring their recurrent structural patterns ad motifs, their ethical orientation
and the social context in which they were produced. It presents a wealth of new sources and analogues, which provide illuminating points of comparison for analysis of the self-consciousness with which
the Gawain-poet handled the staple ingredients of Arthurian romance. Throughout, Ad Putter plays close attention to the ways in which the modes of representation of Arthurian romance are related to social and historical context. By revealing in the course of their romances the importance of conscience, courtliness, and self-restraint, literati such as the Gawain-poet and Chretien de Troyes helped a feudal society with an obsolete chivalric ideology adapt to the changing times.
`Putter is excellent in giving substance to the general belief that the Gawain poet was deeply familiar with the French Arthurian romances ... he ranges far more widely, and with much greater persuasiveness, than the customary citations of examples of beheading games and amorous ladies have allowed.'
Medium Aevum, LXV.I
`This revised doctoral thesis presents its argument carefully, bringing together, consolidating, and offering further corroboratory evidence for several established critical perspectives on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and on romance in general.'
MLR, 92.3, 1997
`astute and well-written book ... His work offers some valuable insights into the ways that an understanding of its relationship to French romance models can reveal the underlying ethical bases of this most complex of Middle English romances ... this is a book to be welcomed. Its careful and wide-ranging scholarship is wedded to a sensitive literary intelligence, a conjunction which has produced a valuable contribution to the study of medieval English
A.S.G. Edwards, RES New Series, Vol. XLVIII, No. 190 (1997)