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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Overview

King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table are in the middle of a Christmas feast when a green-skinned knight offers them a simple but deadly challenge. A challenge the brave Sir Gawain quickly-and fatefully-accepts. Brilliantly translated by distiguished poet Burton Raffel, this is a lyrical, accessible version of one of the most beloved tales in Arthurian literature.
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Overview

King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table are in the middle of a Christmas feast when a green-skinned knight offers them a simple but deadly challenge. A challenge the brave Sir Gawain quickly-and fatefully-accepts. Brilliantly translated by distiguished poet Burton Raffel, this is a lyrical, accessible version of one of the most beloved tales in Arthurian literature.
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Editorial Reviews

Tom Shippey
"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is arguably the greatest poem surviving in English from any period, and Paul Battles' edition is the ideal introduction to it. The text has been reconsidered at every level, and the notes and glossary take in the latest scholarship, but the scholarship never threatens to overwhelm the beauty and power of the poem. The new appendices on sources and analogs are especially valuable."
Gerald Morgan
"Among the increasing number of translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, it is good to be able to welcome a new edition of the poem itself. The very richness of the poem's verbal detail and the subtlety of its philosophical argument require a mastery of the original text, and in this edition the beginning student is fortunate to have not only a learned guide but also a sensible one who writes with engaging clarity and is tolerant of the diversity of critical opinion. The text itself is supplied not only with marginal glosses and succinct, informative notes but also a full glossary. The four well-chosen appendices are worthy of special mention, providing valuable source material that places the poem in its authentic context of Arthurian romance and aristocratic culture."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451531193
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 69,955
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Battles is Professor of English at Hanover College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
A Note on the Text
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Appendix A: From Caradoc
Appendix B: The Story of the False Guenevere and Bertelay
Appendix C: From The Knight with the Sword
Appendix D: From Edward of Norwich, Second Duke of York, The Master of Game
Glossary
Select Bibliography and Works Cited

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 13, 2012

    A cool medieval story

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The dark Middle Ages and all that.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Really enjoyed it...

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended

    I'm completely satisfied with my purchase

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Weird

    I enjoyed it....but a conversation with a beheaded guy is weird, yes?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Must read for all medival and classic readers.

    I reaed this story as a child,I loved it then and now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted May 8, 2011

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