Apologies for the tardy response!
>From: Clodagh Downey <[log in to unmask]>
>I'm no expert on morphology, but I find Sayers' association of 'uath' with
>'uaine' on the grounds of assonance a bit tenuous...?
But his connection does not rely simply on this; rather it also relies on
the tertiary meaning of uath: "Another uath is listed among poetic or highly
specialized words for colors in Auraicept na nEces (The Scholar's Primer, l.
5699) and a third, possibly related uath was a term for 'earth, clay,
>I like Nicolas Jacobs' interpretation of why the Green Knight is green
>(_Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments_ ITS Subsidiary Series 10 (2000), p.53-4)
>because it is simple and, I think, shows a brilliant appreciation of
>"... the poet's skilful manipulation of binary oppositions provides a more
>convincing context for the knight's colour. Though there are other
>structural patterns at work in the poem, _Sir Gawain_ is most strikingly
>constructed around the contrasts between civilisation and nature,
>refinement and force, security and danger, the courteous and boisterous.
I don't think this interpretation contradicts what Sayers is saying. To
Sayers, the figure in Fled Bricrenn is a creature of nature, living in or
possibly near a lake (as described in the tale and in an earlier portion of
Sayers' essay), whose name resonates with connotations of "earth, clay, or
mould." Given the tendency of Irish color names to be associated not so much
with color in the modern sense of chemical dyes but more with tone and
contrast, I think Sayers' suggestion of a mouldy-colored figure supports
Jacobs' association of the "Green" Knight with the powers of nature as
opposed to those of "civilization."
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