Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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An early English poem of magic, chivalry and seduction 

Composed during the fourteenth century in the English Midlands, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight describes the events that follow when a mysterious green-coloured knight rides into King Arthur's Camelot in deep mid-winter. The mighty knight presents a challenge to the court: he will

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Overview

An early English poem of magic, chivalry and seduction 

Composed during the fourteenth century in the English Midlands, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight describes the events that follow when a mysterious green-coloured knight rides into King Arthur's Camelot in deep mid-winter. The mighty knight presents a challenge to the court: he will allow himself to be struck by one blow, on the condition that he will be allowed to return the strike on the following New Year's Eve. Sir Gawain takes up the challenge, decapitating the stranger - only to see the Green Knight seize up his own severed head and ride away, leaving Gawain to seek him out and honour their pact. Blending Celtic myth and Christian faith, Gawain is among the greatest Middle English poems: a tale of magic, chivalry and seduction.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140424539
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/24/2007
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
567,129
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.83(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

We know the "Gawain Poet" was a contemporary of Geofrey Chaucer's. He appears to have been the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness; "he" may also have composed Saint Erkenwald.

Bernard O'Donoghue is a Fellow in English at Wadham College and a noted Irish poet.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JustinbNeHi More than 1 year ago
First off i would like to say that the book, though hard to understand due to the syntax, was thoroughly interesting and kept you always on edge. Just when you think all is well, a man dares someone to chop his head off, and gets just that. What amazes me the most about this book is how each heroic character moves as if he is a god venturing through the land. Everyone is brought to life in "Sir Gawain And The Green Night." I recommend this book to anyone with an interest with classic 15th century literature as it gives off the same vibe of Beowulf and Ironclad.
Dierckx More than 1 year ago
The author of this little masterpiece is unknown. This story - or 'romance' if you like - was found in a little manuscript that was written in c.1380. There are three other stories in that manuscript presumably by the same author. The text is a medieval English dialect. King Arthur, his wife Guinevere, and the Knights of The Round Table are celebrating Christmas and New Year at the famous castle 'Camelot'. One evening a huge knight on horseback bursts into the Hall during dinner, brandishing a large and fearsome battle-axe. Everything about him is green, not only his armor - as one might expect - but also his face, his hair, and even his horse. He has come in peace as he is advertising more than once. In short he says: who is bold enough to step forward and try to chop my head off with this battle-axe? But after one year and a day it will be my turn to deal a blow. Gawain, one of the Knights of The Round Table, steps forward, takes the axe and beheads the Green Knight. As if nothing happened the Green Knight picks up his head, takes it under his arm and the head says: a year and one day from now it will be my turn to give you a blow. You have to promise that you will come looking for me. You can find me at the Green Chapel ( It's almost a joke but who knows? Maybe this is all just a joke ). If you survive my blow I will give you a great reward. The Knight doesn't want to say where the Green Chapel can be found. It's far away from here but you will find people who can show you the way. And remember, you promised. And so the adventure begins for Gawain. He has to go without a companion. He stands on his own for that was a part of the deal. This Fantasy element is the only one in the story. Everything else is realistic. That could be an indication that some scholars are right when they say that the Green Knight is a symbol for the reviving of Nature after the winter. There is a parallel between this symbolism and Gawain who's becoming more mature as the story unfolds. Throughout the story he's tempted in many ways to betray his vow of chastity and loyalty to the Virgin Mary, and near the end of the story he's tempted into cowardice. After all is said and done Gawain has a more realistic view on knighthood. He becomes adult and reaches a new stage in his life just like the revival of Nature by the Green Knight. One of the things I like in this medieval romance are the hunting scenes described very vividly and in great detail. It starts with a description of the animal they want to hunt down: its strong and weak points. During the chase it is as if you can hear the horns blow and the shouts of the hunters, the barking of the hounds and the grunting of the wounded animal and it ends with the cutting of the meat after the bowels are given to the hounds as a reward. Bernard O' Donoghue has done a very fine job in translating this little masterpiece of medieval literature. It's a vivid and a very readable verse translation of this engrossing adventure.
Anonymous 7 days ago
An amazing translation and an amazing story. Read it for a British lit class as a (cultural) compare/contrast to Beowulf and I was blown away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed it...
vamp_romancelover14 More than 1 year ago
I'm completely satisfied with my purchase
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it....but a conversation with a beheaded guy is weird, yes?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I reaed this story as a child,I loved it then and now.
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