Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by UnknownContains the greatest OH FUCK moment in medieval literature!
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - listed here as written by Unknown, though I believe it may have been penned by that prolific Greek author Anonymous - is a classic tale from Arthurian legend in which the code of honor attributed to chivalry is heavily ensconced.
There are many interpretations of the poems meaning, and historically speaking its often dependent on the readers bias. For instance, Christians latched on to the sex aspect and pagans saw a Green Man parallel. Me? I just see it as damn good fun, just as Ill wager the eagerly listening common folk heard it told by their smoky peat fires so many hundreds of years ago.
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Background
It is one of the best known Arthurian stories, with its plot combining two types of folk motifs, the beheading game and the exchange of winnings. Written in stanzas of alliterative verse , each of which ends in a rhyming bob and wheel ,  it draws on Welsh , Irish and English stories, as well as the French chivalric tradition. It is an important example of a chivalric romance , which typically involves a hero who goes on a quest which tests his prowess.
Yet it is only in the unique artistry and imagination of J. Tolken that the language, romance, and power of these great stories comes to life for modern readers, in this masterful and compelling new translation. After serving in World War I, he embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognized as one of the finest philologists in the world. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in He is, however, beloved throughout the world as the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic works as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
The anonymous poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is considered one of the masterpieces of Middle English literature — a story of knightly deeds, sexual enticement and wild landscapes. It was composed in the West Midlands region of Britain at the end of the 14th century. Gawain tells the story of a young knight at the legendary court of King Arthur. The poem opens with a description of a Christmas feast at Camelot, the Arthurian court. During the feast a mysterious green knight, with green hair and green skin, riding a green horse, arrives and challenges the assembled crowd to a bizarre game, which sets off a chain of events in which Gawain faces trials and temptations. They frequently involve a hero usually a knight involved in a quest.