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The Oxford English Literary HistoryVolume I: 1000-1350: Conquest and Transformation$
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Laura Ashe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199575381.001.0001

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The Bellator and Chevalerie

The Bellator and Chevalerie

The Struggle for the Warrior’s Soul

Chapter:
(p.181) 4 The Bellator and Chevalerie
Source:
The Oxford English Literary History
Author(s):

Laura Ashe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199575381.003.0005

This chapter describes the origins and development of chivalry, asking when knights began to believe that their lives were not inherently sinful. It traces the influence of the Crusades, and the Church’s declarations on licit and illicit violence. Secular and religious ‘manuals’ of chivalry are examined for their competing models of behaviour; the Arthurian romances are analysed for their representations of courtliness and chivalry, and contrasted with the pseudo-historical romances of twelfth- and thirteenth-century England. Discussion turns to twelfth- and thirteenth-century political theory, and the different political circumstances in England and France. The chapter then proceeds to an analysis of the romance Gui de Warewic as an exploration of these themes, and concludes with an analysis of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a critique of chivalry.

Keywords:   chivalry, knighthood, Chrétien de Troyes, Crusades, Arthurian romance, John of Salisbury, William Marshal, Roland, Gui de Warewic, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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