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Roppolo, Joseph P. "The Converted Knight in Chaucer’s ‘Wife of Bath’s Tale.’" College English, Vol. 12, No. 5 (Feb., 1951), 263-269.

(This article details the transformation on both sides of the Loathly Lady equation. While the hag is transformed outwardly, the knight is transformed inwardly. Chaucer’s story, therefore, concerns itself more with a change on the knight’s part than with the transformation of the hag into a beautiful young woman.  Roppolo calls the new motif concerning the knight’s conversion the Converted Knight, and treats the tale completely separately from the Gawain Cycle.)

Holland, Norman N. "Meaning as Transformation: The Wife of Bath’s Tale." College English, Vol. 28, No. 4, (Jan., 1967), 279-290.

(Holland uses a psychosexual approach to analyze the transformation dynamic between the knight and the loathly lady. He suggests that the vehicle of transformation is through a successive breaking of taboos (i.e., rape, the women of the court deciding the knight’s fate, the loathly lady possessing power over the knight, etc.). The women actually receive the sovereignty that is the correct response to Guinevere’s question symbolically through the transformation of the wayward knight.)

Thompson, Raymond H. "’Muse on thi Mirrour’: The Challenge of the Outlandish Stranger in the English Arthurian Verse Romances. Folklore, Vol. 87, No. 2 (1976), 201-208.

(Thompson contends that most of the beheading game literature is extremely critical of the knightly culture presented in these tales. He compares the transformation in beheading game literature with that of loathly lady literature. The fundamental use of the outsider is to expose the fault’s in Arthur’s court.)

Ross, Anne.  Pagan Celtic Britain:  Studies in Iconography and Tradition.  New York:  Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967.


(Ross outlines, in spectacular detail, a phenomenon she terms “The Cult of the Head” in Celtic society.  She exhaustively lists different examples from insular and continental Celtic artwork to illustrate their worship of the head.  One of the most interesting points in regard to my reading is that the preponderance of head art is found in northern England, near Hadrian’s wall, precisely the same area in which most beheading game literature was produced.)


Davidson, H.R. Ellis.  The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England.  New York:  Boydell Press, 1994.


(This book details the numerous examples of Anglo-Saxon swords that survive in England and on the continent.  The amount of time and energy used to forge a sword, especially when those swords were ornately carved, suggests some sort of importance over the purely functional.  Swords, therefore, were symbols of power in Anglo-Saxon times, and much of that reverence for swords carried over even into Medieval English literature.)


Cooper, Helen.  The English Romance in Time:  Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare.  New York:  U Oxford P, 2004.



(This extremely thorough book outlines Romances produced after 1500, their sources and many of the influences exerted upon the others.  She includes the Wife of Bath’s Tale and also many Gawain romances, but does not include them under the same heading.  She makes the common critical assumption that the tales, while analogues of one another, do not belong in the same cycle.)


Walls, Kathryn.  “The Axe in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”  ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews, 2003 Winter; 16 (1): 13-18.


(Walls asserts that Medieval readers would have related the Green Knight’s axe, and the holly branch he brings to Arthur’s court, to a section of scripture found in Matthew 3.10.  This passage metaphorically refers to axes cutting down trees, or beliefs.  An interesting article, but not altogether convincing.)


Trimnell, Karen H. 'And Should Have Been Oderwyse Understond':  The Disenchanting of Sir Gromer Somer Joure.”  Medium Ævum, 2002; 71 (2): 294-301.


(In her article, Trimnell argues that Sir Gromer Somer Joure’s name is actually a mistranslation of Goumeres sans Mesure, from French romances.  An extremely interesting article, but seeing as I’ve read none of the French sources cited by Trimnell, not terribly helpful.)


Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.  “On the Loathly Bride.”  Speculum, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Oct., 1945), 391-404.


(This article deals with how archetypical the Loathly Lady motif really is, appearing in Indian folklore and mythology, Irish/Celtic myth, Greek myth, with many other cultural derivations.  Putting the motif outside of a Celtic framework helps to assign the tales more importance then they would have if peculiar to English or Celtic literature.)


Steinberg, Aaron.  “The Wife of Bath’s Tale and Her Fantasy of Fulfillment.”  College English, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Dec., 1964), 187-191.


(Details, almost 50 years ago, the psychological desire for the Wife of Bath to create a tale in which she could live out her desires.  The Hag becomes young and beautiful, and completely adored by a socially elite young male.  I believe this is one of the first articles to assert this possibility, and her comments are, I think, very astute.)


Citations without Annotations:


Dannenbaum, Susan.  “The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell, Line 48.”  Explicator, 1982 Spring; 40 (3): 3-4.


Forste-Grupp, Sheryl L. “ A Woman Circumvents the Laws of Primogeniture in The Weddynge of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnell.”  Studies in Philology, Vol. 99, No. 2 (Spring, 2002), 105-122.


Kittredge, George L.  “Disenchantment by Decapitation.”  The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 18, No. 68 (Jan.-Mar., 1905), 1-14.


Hardman, Phillipa.  “Gawain's Practice of Piety in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”  Medium Aevum, 1999; 68 (2): 247-67.




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