Did Sir John Stanley write Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?


The Gawain Poet
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir John Stanley (d. 1414)
Robert de Vere (1362-92)

How to Cite

Breeze, A. . (2022). Did Sir John Stanley write Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 27(1), 81–113. https://doi.org/10.17811/selim.27.2022.81-113


The Gawain Poet was the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a fourteenth-century Arthurian romance, and perhaps the greatest poem ever written in Northern England. Its anonymous creator ranks with Marvell, Wordsworth, and the Brontës as amongst the North's supreme literary artists. The question naturally arises as to who he was. In 2004 the present writer gave an answer, publishing (in the US journal Arthuriana) an analysis of the poem and its associated works Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience. He there proposed that the unknown poet was Sir John Stanley (c. 1350-1414), the evidence including dialect, topography, and verbal parallels between the four texts and Stanley's correspondence. What follows offers a revised survey of publications before and after 2004, examining whether they strengthen the case for Stanley as the Gawain Poet, weaken it, or demolish it completely.



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