Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is part of the legend about King Arthur. This tale survived in a single manuscript that was included with three religious poems: "Pearl," "Patience," and "Purity." The author is unknown, but has been called "the Pearl Poet," because of his poem by that name. After being forgotten for over 400 years, the manuscript was discovered in the British Library, belonging to a collection of the Elizabethan bibliophile, Sir Robert Cotton. Due to similarity in language, scholars seem to think that the Pearl Poet was a contemporary of Chaucer. However, the poetic style is quite different, indeed, even more complex than the Canterbury Tales. In addition to its complexity in meter and structure, the poem successfully combines into one plot three different stories that were popular among storytellers in the 1300s. These tales include the beheading game, the exchange of winnings, and the seduction by a hostess.