Simon Armitage is the award-winning poet and translator of both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Death of King Arthur, as well as several works of poetry, prose, and drama. He is the Oxford Professor of Poetry.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (A New Verse Translation)by Simon Armitage
"Compulsively readable. ... Simon Armitage has given us an energetic, free-flowing, high-spirited version."—Edward Hirsch, New York Times Book ReviewOne of the earliest great stories of English literature after ?Beowulf?, ?Sir Gawain? is the strange tale of a green knight on a green horse, who rudely interrupts King Arthur's/em>/em>/p>/em>… See more details below
"Compulsively readable. ... Simon Armitage has given us an energetic, free-flowing, high-spirited version."—Edward Hirsch, New York Times Book ReviewOne of the earliest great stories of English literature after ?Beowulf?, ?Sir Gawain? is the strange tale of a green knight on a green horse, who rudely interrupts King Arthur's Round Table festivities one Yuletide, challenging the knights to a wager. Simon Armitrage, one of Britain's leading poets, has produced an inventive and groundbreaking translation that "[helps] liberate ?Gawain ?from academia" (?Sunday Telegraph?).
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I decided to get the "sample" to get a feel for how it reads... A seven page sample; one page is the cover, one title page, one table of contents page, and four pages of the introduction...this all helped not a bit. I have over 4200 books in my nook, and this is the first sample I have tried, glad I did not do it earlier. Sorry, cannot review, but the cover looks nice, can we judge a book by the cover perchance ?
This is a legendary story with a world of meaning applicable to any generation. As in any knightly adventure, there is a challenge and a quest, and in that, there is suspense to spare. Foremost, however, among the strengths of this story is the allegory of life. Gawain, the young nephew of King Arthur, takes on a quest, knowing that his only right to do so is that he is a relative of the king. In his own strength, he faces death, knowing that he, unlike his opponent, the Green Knight, will not pick up his head from the ground and walk away. Yet, his sense of honor to his king will not allow him to miss his pledged meeting with the Green Knight. While his moment of encounter is admirable, he has, at this point, kept a magic girdle, given to him by the wife of a kind lord who allows Gawain to stay at his castle while he is on his quest. The girdle has the power to save Gawain's life. This added element brings his honor into question, but, thankfully, the story does not end there. The confrontation with the Green Knight is a lesson learned in confession, repentance, and restoration as Gawain is faced with the reality of who he is and who he can be. The green girdle, at the end, is no longer a mark of shame, but a mark of honor. Readers will surely identify with the young Gawain, who faces a grave sin for a knight, but in facing it, moves beyond it to a life of true honor.