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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Piers the Ploughman
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Piers the Ploughman Author:K. G. T. Webster (Translator) (Editor), W. A. Neilson (Translator) (Editor) This book includes two Medieval poems, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "The Vision of William concerning Piers the Ploughman", translated into modern English, with scholarly introductions, by K. G. T. Webster and W. A. Neilson. — "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is the finest representative of a great cy... more »cle of verse romances devoted wholly or principally to the adventures of Gawain. Of these there still survive in English a dozen or so, and in French seven or eight more; and these, of course, are but a fraction of what must once have existed. No other knight of the Round Table occupies anything like so important a place as Gawain in the literature of the middle ages.
"The Vision of William concerning Piers the Ploughman" is one of the most extraordinary productions in English literature. Of uncertain authorship, and composed and revised at different times, it was based on no single model. Confused and intricate in structure, belonging as a whole to no one literary type, it yet ranks with the work of the methodical and voluminous Gower, and almost with that of Chaucer, as a contribution to the understanding of the England of the fourteenth century. The poem exists in forty-five known manuscripts which differ greatly among themselves, due to the fact that the work was revised and extended on a large scale at least twice, and it is customary to distinguish three main versions: A, written about 1362 (2567 lines); B, about 1377 (7242 lines); and C, about 1393 or 1398-1399 (7357 lines).« less