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The Death of King Arthur: A New Verse Translation
     

The Death of King Arthur: A New Verse Translation

by Simon Armitage (Translator)
 

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First appearing around 1400, The Alliterative Morte Arthure, or, The Death of King Arthur, is one of the most widely beloved and spectacularly alliterative poems ever penned in Middle English. Now, from the internationally acclaimed translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, comes this magisterial new presentation of the Arthurian tale,

Overview

First appearing around 1400, The Alliterative Morte Arthure, or, The Death of King Arthur, is one of the most widely beloved and spectacularly alliterative poems ever penned in Middle English. Now, from the internationally acclaimed translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, comes this magisterial new presentation of the Arthurian tale, rendered in unflinching and gory detail. Following Arthur's bloody conquests across the cities and fields of Europe, all the way to his spectacular and even bloodier fall, this masterpiece features some of the most spellbinding and poignant passages in English poetry. Never before have the deaths of Arthur's loyal knights, his own final hours, and the subsequent burial been so poignantly evoked.

Echoing the lyrical passion that so distinguished Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, Simon Armitage has produced a virtuosic new translation that promises to become both the literary event of the year and the definitive edition for generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
[T]ake heart, brave literary warriors. Norton has...just published a paperback edition of Simon Armitage’s spectacular translation of The Death of King Arthur. The celebrated British writer renders this anonymous poem into modern English lines that command your full allegiance.— Ron Charles
Ron Charles - Washington Post
“[T]ake heart, brave literary warriors. Norton has...just published a paperback edition of Simon Armitage’s spectacular translation of The Death of King Arthur. The celebrated British writer renders this anonymous poem into modern English lines that command your full allegiance.”
Library Journal
Award-winning British poet Armitage follows his celebrated 2007 translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with this muscular, clanging rendering of the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure. The original poem appears on facing pages and presents readers with a miscellany of linguistic loose ends, some lines requiring very little translation and others remaining lost in the Middle English word horde. Armitage's translation preserves the robust alliteration of the original and utilizes the repeated blows of letter sounds to evoke the din of battle as well as to propel the poem to its ferocious and tragic end. Here, Arthur is an ambivalent figure, sure of God's grace yet troubled by dreams that bind the fate of all Britons to his conflict with Sir Lucius, the Roman emperor whose ambition and arrogance mirror Arthur's. VERDICT Armitage's version of the Alliterative Morte Arthure strengthens Norton's catalog of new translations of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts. It is also a remarkable instance of Armitage's own unique poetic strengths, especially his ear for lyrical economy and gift for sensual, tactile description.—J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
The Washington Post - Ron Charles
…Armitage's spectacular translation…renders this anonymous poem into modern English lines that command your full allegiance…forget Tennyson's Victorian niceties in Idylls of the King; Armitage's pages are splattered with gore, "gloupy with slime"…With captivating articulation, these lines growl and roar and hiss in a way that reminds us just how much our preference for rhyme over alliteration has cost us. And amid all the viscera and gore, we find such startling moments of intimacy and grief, expressed by soldiers wholly unconstrained by our narrow, modern-day expectations of manhood.
Jeremy Noel-Tod - Guardian
“Invitingly ingenious and inventive.”
David Blackburn - Spectator
“Armitage has triumphed. . . . The verse requires attention; but, once you are attuned to the alliterative structure, it’s as swift as the swish of a sword.”
Bill Greenwell - Independent
“Armitage, on top form, renders [Arthur] expertly.”
Guardian
Invitingly ingenious and inventive.— Jeremy Noel-Tod
Spectator
Armitage has triumphed. . . . The verse requires attention; but, once you are attuned to the alliterative structure, it’s as swift as the swish of a sword.— David Blackburn
Independent
Armitage, on top form, renders [Arthur] expertly.— Bill Greenwell

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393073973
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/19/2011
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.74(h) x 1.02(d)

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Meet the Author

The award-winning Simon Armitage has published ten volumes of poetry. His translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was covered on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. He lives in Yorkshire, England.

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