Catalogue


From Pearl to Gawain : forme to fynisment /
Robert J. Blanch, and Julian N. Wasserman.
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c1995.
description
207 p. : ill.
ISBN
0813013488 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c1995.
isbn
0813013488 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
1129382
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-01:
The British Museum's manuscript Cotton Nero A x from the late 14th century contains Pearl, Purity, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Middle English, the objects of this study. This is an open-ended, intertextual critique of these poems, which are connected by a view of history beginning with Genesis (Purity), Daniel (Patience) to the present (Gawain) and ending with Pearl, an eschatological dream vision of the New Jerusalem. The correct interpretation of signs is crucial for society, as the failures of Arthur and Gawain show. The tropes of the hand of God and the hand of man are studied in the texts and iconology to show the importance of discernment and caution in understanding their manifestation in history. Blanch (Northeastern Univ.) and Wasserman (Loyola Univ.) question the accepted view that the medieval narrator is "unobtrusive" by studying the use of pronouns like "we" and "us" to identify communities for controlled inclusion or exclusion of characters and readers. This study offers compelling insights into the four poems without ignoring a unified view of all of them. The accessibility of this study is limited by the lack of translation of citations into modern English; graduate students and researchers. J. F. O'Malley; Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1996
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Despite lip service to the proposition that the Pearl manuscript is the product of a single author, critics usually treat the four poems as isolated entities. The two authors of this work - who individually and together have produced a formidable body of research, criticism, and bibliographic study of this anonymous fourteenth-century poet - set forth a different thesis. They assume not only that the works share a common author but that they are connected and intersect in fundamental ways. They begin with the observation that the four Cotton Nero poems, taken together, extend from Creation to the Apocalypse and then transcendence to the heavenly Jerusalem. Comprising the entire scope of "History", the poems share a Creator whose active intervention in human affairs bespeaks a providential history that is the product of divine Will. Beginning with this premise, the authors discuss a series of interrelated themes (language, covenants, miracles, the iconography of the hand, and the role of the intrusive narrator) that successively arise from their initial observation. Every discussion treats all four poems, using each individual work to gloss the others. While this study builds on centuries of previous scholarship, much of what Blanch and Wassermann explore has never been discussed elsewhere. Some of the material - in particular their reading of the Green Knight's offer of weapons to Arthur's court, and the thematic significance of moral "handiwork" in the Gawain poems - not only breaks new ground but challenges accepted interpretations.
Main Description
"Exciting insights and ideas. . . . Offers a provocative argument for the aesthetic significance of the four poems taken as a whole."--Martin B. Shichtman, Eastern Michigan University "The authors' respective careers' worth of study of this poet. . . gives their joined critical voices tremendous authority and an almost unmatched knowledge of the history of critical opinion relevant to the issues being discussed."--Lorraine K. Stock, University of Houston Despite lip service to the proposition that the Pearl manuscript is the product of a single author, critics usually treat the four poems as isolated entities. The two authors of this work--who individually and together have produced a formidable body of research, criticism, and bibliographic study of this anonymous fourteenth-century poet--set forth a different thesis. They assume not only that the works share a common author but that they are connected and intersect in fundamental ways. They begin with the observation that the four Cotton Nero poems, taken together, extend from Creation to the Apocalypse and then transcendence to the heavenly Jerusalem. Comprising the entire scope of "History," the poems share a Creator whose active intervention in human affairs bespeaks a providential history that is the product of divine Will. Beginning with this premise, the authors discuss a series of interrelated themes (language, covenants, miracles, the iconography of the hand, and the role of the intrusive narrator) that successively arise from their initial observation. Every discussion treats all four poems, using each individual work to gloss the others. While this study builds on centuries of previous scholarship, much of what Blanch and Wasserman explore has never been discussed elsewhere. Some of the material--in particular their reading of the Green Knight's offer of weapons to Arthur's court, and the thematic significance of moral "handiwork" in the Gawain poems--not only breaks new ground but challenges accepted interpretations. Robert J. Blanch, professor of English at Northeastern University, Boston, is editor of Sir Gawain and Pearl and author of an annotated bibliography on Gawain. Julian N. Wasserman is professor of English at Loyola University, New Orleans. He is cofounder and associate editor of Exemplaria and the author of many books and articles on medieval and modern literature. Both are widely associated with Pearl-Poet criticism. Blanch is current president of the Pearl-Poet Society; Wasserman is past president. Both were contributors to the MLA volume Approaches to Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and, most recently, they published an overview of Gawain criticism in Chaucer Review.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. ix
As Good as Your Word Language, Culture, And Building Blocks of Historyp. 13
As Good as a Handshake Covenantal History And The Fate of Monkyndep. 27
Pardon the Interruption The Miracles of God And The Covenant of Kyndep. 45
Tools of the Trade The Hand of God The Hand of Manp. 65
Quicker Than the "I" The Hand of the Poet And The Pronouns of Narrativep. 111
Notesp. 149
Bibliographyp. 177
Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem