The Numerical Universe of the Gawain-Pearl Poet: Beyond Phi

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The Numerical Universe of the Gawain-Pearl Poet: Beyond Phi by Condren, Edward I., 9780813025544
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  • ISBN: 9780813025544 | 0813025540
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 10/1/2002
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Edward Condren examines the manuscript of the Gawain-Pearl Poet in the light of a compositional method well recognized from the literature of ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance but largely overlooked by modern criticism. Arguing that the manuscript is a single integrated artifact and not merely a collection, he shows that it is held together, as is the universe, by mathematical equations called the Divine Proportion in the Middle Ages and phi by modern mathematicians. More than a critical study of four poems in a manuscript, Condren's detailed discussion of numeric theory reveals the medieval way of understanding the created universe in neo-Pythagorean and Platonic terms, and it underscores the importance of the quadrivium in the medieval view of an ordered universe.

Drawing on medieval theories of proportion and harmony, Condren shows that the manuscript is more intricately designed and presented than anyone has yet recognized and that the poet who created this work was better educated and more self-consciously brilliant than most have imagined.

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