The Alliterative Morte Arthure


The author of the poem is unknown. In his history of Scotland, Andrew of Wyntoun mentions a poet called Huchoun ("little Hugh"), who he says made a "gret Gest of Arthure, / And þe Awntyr of Gawane, / Þe Pistil als of Suet Susane" [great history of Arthur, / And the Adventure of Gawain, / The Epistle also of Sweet Susan]. This "Gest of Arthure" has been claimed to be a reference to what is now known as the Alliterative Morte Arthure; but the fact that the Morte Arthure seems to have been written in an East Midlands dialect, the fact that Huchoun may have been Scottish, and the dialect of the extant Epistle of Sweet Susan,[1] which appears to be that of North Yorkshire, all argue against "Huchoun"'s authorship.

The only manuscript source for the Morte Arthure is the Lincoln Thornton Manuscript written sometime in the mid-15th century by Robert Thornton, who copied an older text, now lost, which presumably derived from south-west Lincolnshire.[2]

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