Inglewood Forest in Three Romances from the Northern Gawain Group

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This article argues that Inglewood Forest exerts influence over the direction of events within a subset of texts in the Northern Gawain Group. Within three tales which begin with a hunt and end in adventure — Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle, The Awntyrs off Arthure, and The Avowyng of Arthur — planned hunts awaken the supernatural but supernatural portents are derailed by the aristocratic hunt, demonstrating the uncontrollability of the forest space. A strand of recent scholarship on the Northern Gawain Group has productively read these works as border romances, and this study builds on these conclusions by arguing that this regional point of view is also reflected in the narrative role of Inglewood Forest itself. The pattern present throughout the Northern Gawain Group in which the forest behaves contrary to the desires of the Arthurian court suggests a resistance to unchecked external control over the local landscape. Inglewood Forest counters the expectations of the Arthurian court, suggesting that there exists a crucial difference between entering the forest by desire and by invitation. This imbalance between the Arthurian court’s desires and the ways in which the forest responds to them functions as a regional critique of the royal forest in fifteenth-century England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalLeeds Medieval Studies
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Inglewood Forest
  • Northern Gawain Group
  • Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle
  • The Avowyng of Arthur
  • The Awntyrs off Arthure


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