Conclusion: Romance Ends, or Transforming Closure in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

  • Sachi Shimomura
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


One can almost imagine a mad tea party of different constructions of the Wife of Bath. The various ways in which she represents herself as temporally determined (as in her past and present selves, and through her relationships with husbands) or textually determined (through relationships with various textual authorities, including her own romance) assume very physical characteristics that differentiate them both in the Wife’s and the audiences’ imagination. She highlights herself as bodily—in fact, as a variety of bodies, whose elusive continuum with respect to time and textual authority characterizes and displays her. The Wife applies this technique most obviously in the romance through which she gives constructions of herself as a clearly demarcated, separable physical presence. Yet even there, she grounds those other lives—those other selves through time—in the idea that she herself exists at their root; on some level, they have always been the “same”: all, in the end, spring directly from her and share a unified judgment.


Visual Judgment External Audience Green Girdle Romance Narrative Medieval Romance 
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© Sachi Shimomura 2006

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  • Sachi Shimomura

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