During the Middle Ages, rhetoric and literature were thoroughly intertwined, whereas current notions of disciplinarity, in which literature and rhetoric are constructed as separate traditions, muddy our understanding of medieval practice. This essay reads Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an anonymous fourteenth-century poem, as engaged in a Ciceronian debate over the ramifications of legislative rhetoric on civic decision-making. Because of the paucity of information on medieval rhetorical practice, it concludes, literature is a resource that illuminates this neglected and misunderstood historical period.
Original Publication Information
Turner, Joseph. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the History of Medieval Rhetoric." 2012. Rhetoric Review 31(4): 371-388.
Turner, Joseph, "Sir Gawain and the green knight and the history of medieval rhetoric." (2012). Faculty Scholarship. 314.