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The Knightly Tale of Golagros and Gawane


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The Knightly Tale of Golagros and Gawane, the finest of all Older Scots romances, was written during the last quarter of the fifteenth century. It uses the thirteen-line alliterative stanza to vivid effect. Its greatest sophistication, however, lies in its thematic engagement with matters of sovereignty and chivalry, in its persistent interest in negotiated exchanges rather than outright warfare, and in its moving depictions of the limitations of an aristocratic ethos fundamentally dedicated to destructive violence.
For this new edition, the text has been re-edited from the sole witness, the version published by Scotland's first printers, Chepman and Myllar, in 1508. The introduction and notes show how the poet works from two Arthurian adventures he derived from a prose continuation of the Old French Perceval, following a Scottish tradition of rehandling prose material into verse. They also reveal, however, the poem's extensive knowledge of an earlier romance likely composed on the borders of north-western England, The Awntyrs of Arthur at the Tarn Wadling, and thus situate Golagros against traditions both French and English. Beyond this, much light is shed on early print culture in Scotland.

RALPH HANNA is Professor of Palaeography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Keble College.


This is a fine edition for a fine poem, a pleasure to read and an important step in bringing the work to a wider audience. NOTES AND QUERIES

Clearly an important, thoughtful, and up-to-date edition that will attract scholars invested in the textual witness of medieval Scottish culture. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

In addition to students of Arthurian literature, those interested in the early history of the Scottish press, and particularly in Chepman and Myllar, the first known printers doing business in Scotland, will benefit from this volume. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH & GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

[An] excellent edition. YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES

A superb edition. SPECULUM


First Published: 16 Oct 2008
13 Digit ISBN: 9781897976296
Pages: 192
Size: 21.6 x 13.8
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Scottish Text Society

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  The Text
  • 3  Textual Commentary