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The Gawain-Poet: A Research Guide: Home


This research guide is designed to point students to resources dealing with the works of the Gawain-Poet available through the Gumberg Library (and beyond). The "Gawain-Poet" is the name scholars have given to the anonymous poet who wrote the Middle English masterpiece Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. A second masterwork is attributed to him (or her?), the poem known as "Pearl," and so some scholars call this author the Pearl-Poet. The Gawain-Poet is said to have written three other important poetic works: "Cleanness" (also known as "Purity"), "Patience", and "St. Erkenwald." This poet, while a contemporary of Chaucer, who was bringing rhyme into English poetry, was part of the Alliterative Revival, writing in a style employing alliteration, which was more characteristic of English poetry before Chaucer.

This guide will point you to:

From "Pearl"

The narrator, in his grief, falls asleep and begins to dream.

From Cotton Nero A.x. manuscript, British Library. Source:

Find Books

Books are important for getting detailed, in-depth information about a topic. Gumberg Library's collection consists of printed books, number of electroniand an even larger number of electronic books, both formats of which can be identified through this guide.

Criticism - The links below will search the online catalog, for books about these subjects (secondary works)

Pearl (Middle English poem)

Patience (Middle English poem)

Purity (Middle English Poem) - Also known as "Cleanness"

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Arthurian romances - History and criticism

Courtly love in literature

English poetry - Middle English, 1100-1500 - History and criticism

Erkenwald, St.

Gawain (Legendary character)

Knights and knighthood in literature

Manuscripts, English (Middle)

Texts - The links below will take you to texts of the poems by the Gawain-Poet

Complete Works (Gawain-Poet)

Complete Works (Pearl-Poet)




Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

From "Pearl"

In his dream, the narrator see his daughter Pearl in Heaven.

From the Cotton Nero A.x. manuscript, British Library. Source: Wikimedia Commons

From "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"

Returned from his journey, Gawain kneels before King Arthur and Guinevere and tells his tale.

From the Cotton Nero A.x. manusript, British Library. Source:

From "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"

The Green Knight has just just picked up his severed head and reminds Gawain of his bargain.

From the Cotton Nero A.X. manuscript, British Library. Source:

Reference Works

In this box you will find introductory books, companions, and encyclopedias to provide you with basic information on the Gawain-Poet, his times, and each of his works. Most are printed books that may be borrowed from the library. Click a book title to check on its availability. Electronic books are indicated as such.

Online Reference Collections

Both of these collections of resources can be accessed off-campus, but you will have to enter your Multipass username and password word in order to use them. Click the title of the database to search it.

Gale Literature Resource Center

This database provides information on thousands of authors and literary works. It includes biographies, reviews and news, literary criticism, and topic and work overviews.

Literature Online (LION)

Along with the full text of of 350,000 English and American works of literature, this database provides articles from 200 full-text literary journals and other key critical and reference resources.

ProQuest One Literature

For literature scholars who need an exhaustive set of scholarly resources around a literary topic for research and course planning. 500,000 primary works and millions of records from journals, monographs, and dissertations.

From "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"

The lady of the castle comes to tempt Gawain.

From the Cotton Nero A.x. manuscript, British Library. Source:

Journal Databases

In this box the journal databases that are best for the study of the Gawain-Poet and his works are highlighted. The full text of many articles may be available. To learn how to tell if full text is available, click here.

All of these resources can be accessed from off-campus, but you will need to enter your Multipass username and password in order to use them.

Other Useful Information

Need help with citation? Click the link below for help in citing resources in the major styles.

Citing Your Sources

Gumberg doesn't have it?  Click below to see your options .

Getting Materials from Other Libraries

Need Help?

If at any time you need help with using Gumberg Library resources, please contact Ted Bergfelt, Humanities Librarian, via email or by phone at 412-426-5430, 8:30 am-4:30 pm ET, Monday-Friday. If he is not available, Ask Gumberg