Tag Archives: greenwood

The wild and managed environment in ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Book Cover © John Howe, 2002. Display of this book-cover comprises fair-use under the 1988 Licenses, Designs and Patents Act.

Species Mentioned: Bumper article! Two armies of species, one tame and one wild.

Source: ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. One of the most exciting Middle English stories.

Date of Source: 1385-1400.

Highlights: ‘Sir Gawain’ tells the story of a game played between the civilised, charming, boring Sir Gawain and the giant, strong, savage Green Knight. The story proves people in medieval Britain distinguished the environment as managed by humans and the wild, primordial environment. In ‘Sir Gawain’, civilisation won and we are still dealing with the complicated consequences of that ‘victory’ today.

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The Eildon Tree in ‘The Romance of Thomas of Erceldoune’ (Thomas the Rhymer)

La Belle Dame sans Merci

Patron’s La Belle Dame sans Merci painting, photo taken by Sofi.

Species mentioned: One tree, not a hawthorn (mayflower; Crataegus sp.) as commonly thought. Possibly oak (Q. robur).

Source: The medieval ‘Romance of Thomas of Erceldoune’, not to be confused with the later ‘Ballad of True Thomas’.

Date of Source: c.1350-1400.

Highlights: The shining lady that slimy Thomas of Erceldoune seduced under the Eildon tree turned out to be the Fairy Queen. She apparently took him seriously when he offered to stay with her forever, and drags him to her Otherworld realm as a paramour. Oops.

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