Notes to Chapter 1

The Abbreviations list will be found in the Apparatus.

1. Du Boulay (1970) offers a lucid and informative demonstration of this phenomenon. Also helpful are Tigar and Levy 1977 :1-187.

2. For a discussion of the analogy of proper proportionality, the use of which in the pricing of Gawain argues not only for his mortal limits but also for ours--his and our relativity and dependence on relationships--see Ross 1969: 99-138, especially pp. 102 and 129.

3. On the shield, see Ackerman 1958:265; Burrow 1965:189; Englehardt 1955: 255; Friedman and Osberg 1977: 301-15, especially pp. 314-15; Green 1962:121-39 (reprinted in Blanch 1966:176-94); Kaske 1979; Malarkey and Toelken 1964:19-20 (reprinted in Howard and Zacher 1968: 243-443; Taylor 1974 :13.

4. Consult Blenkner 1977: 357; Kaske 1979; and also, though with extreme caution, Schnyder 1961:59-60.

5. It would be possible and also, I believe, helpful to express this perception in terms of the Pelagian controversy. As we know, this controversy was alive and strenuous in the fourteenth century; Bradwardine's efforts to renew Augustinism are sufficient proof of that (see for a convenient overview Oberman 1978: 80-93). Indeed, as Oberman clearly demonstrates, {81/82} by the 1330s a new florescence of Augustinian teaching and feeling was evident. In this context, Gawain and, indeed, all of Arthur's court, can be seen as Pelagians, or the sort who presume themselves sufficient to do and to be good; the Green Knight, however, challenges this and all the other presumptions of Arthur's world, and when Gawain returns from the Green Chapel, he returns convinced of the "faut and þe fayntyse of þe flesche crabbed / How tender hit is to entyse teches of fylþe" (2435-36)--which is indisputably an Augustinian conviction, the sense of one who has learned the limitations to human striving. (See also chap. 4 at n. 15.)

6. My formulation again looks to the Pelagian controversy. In strict Augustinian terms, Gawain cannot merit anything without the prior infusion of grace. That grace has been given to him is, of course, obvious; in one very real sense, the Green Knight is evidence of as much (see Prov. 3. 12; Heb. 12. 6). But until his confrontation with the Green Knight, Gawain does not actually appreciate that all his efforts must come to naught without grace; only through his experience at the Green Chapel does he discover the humility that enables him to try to merit his name.

7. Sermo 329. 1 (PL 38:1454), as quoted in Rivière 1933:106.

8. Emphasis added, Sermo 130. 2 (PL 38:726) as quoted in Herz 1958:206.

9. Emphasis added, Enarrationes in Psalmos 30. 2 (CCSL 38:192); Herz 1958:79.

10. Following is a partial listing of instances of commercial imagery and rhetoric in Augustine's works: Enarrationes in Psalmos 148. 8 (CCSL 40: 2170), Herz 1958:204-5; Sermones 80. 5 (PL 38:496-97), Herz 1958: 197-98; 90. 10 (PL 38:566); 124. 4 (PL 38:688), Herz 1958:206; 158. 2 (PL 38:863), Hamm 1977:9; Contra Epistulam Parmeniani 1. 7. 12 (CSEL 51:31), Herz 1958:211; In Johannis Euangelium 13. 14 (CCSL 36:138), Herz 1958: 216; also 40. 9 (CCSL 36:355-56). Consider also the following example from St. Ambrose: "Neminem jugo servitutis astrictum possidet /sc. diabolus/, nisi se prius peccatorum aere ei vendiderit (The devil owns no one bound under the yoke of slavery to him unless that person first sells himself to him for the coins, the price, of sin)"; De Jacob et Vita Beata 1. 3 (PL 14:602-3).

11. For a convenient collection of examples, see Javelet 1967:2, 63, n. 190; see also Boethius, Philosophiae Consolatio 5. 3. 34 and 35 and the commentary by Mohrmann 1976:55-58; Piers the Plowman C. 18. 72-81 and the commentary by Raw 1969:143-79, especially pp. 156-57 and 337-38; Häring 1955:508-12 and 1956:46-49; finally, Riehle 1981: 101-3.

12. Out of the numerous economic histories of medieval Europe in general and England in particular, I have found the following most useful: Bernard 1972:274-338; Bridbury 1962; de Roover 1967 and 1971; Duby 1974 and 1976; Heers 1973; Kershaw 1976:85-132; Lopez 1976; Miskimin 1969; Murphy 1973; Pirenne 1937; Postan 1972 and 1973:41-48, 186-213; Rörig 1967:111-12, 161-89; Spicciani 1977.

13. Lopez 1976:156-57. Murray (1978:60) lucidly describes the abstract prin-{82/83}ciple of this phenomenon: "Among forms of wealth money combines a peculiar group of qualities. By a mechanism as mysterious as its results are unmistakable, analogous qualities appear in societies where money circulates. The qualities of money have been enumerated: it moves freely from hand to hand; it travels; it divides almost anyhow; a lot fits in a small space; it can be left to pile up without suffering natural vicissitudes. These qualities are reflected in societies with money in them. Men's mutual relations shift, as if liquified by their medium of exchange; men travel; social blocks split, like sums of cash, into changeable groupings of individuals; people herd in towns, like coins in a chest; and power, finally, like value, is increasingly abstracted from the perishable to the imperishable, from individuals to institutions. A simple formula captures this whole effect: liquidity in wealth makes for social liquidity; abstraction in wealth makes for an abstraction of power." Consult further on this crucial phenomenon Foucault 1971:168-95 and Sohn-Rethel 1978:13-79.

14. That covetousness and avarice are synonymous in Middle English is evidenced by Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale Vi C: 423-24.