Keith's Reviews > Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown
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's review
Oct 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites
Read from October 19 to 23, 2011

This is a beautiful tale of magic and chivalry that I’ve read many times. I’m not familiar with other translations, but I enjoy Brian Stone’s translation and his deft use of alliteration. (I’ve never tried to read the poem in its original North West Midland dialect – that might be something to try, though I’ve heard it is much more difficult than reading Chaucer, which I find very slow going.)

The story, familiar to many, is exquisitely told and the characters are charming and lively. The descriptions of the clothing, castles, hunts, characters and nature are quite vivid and evocative. And although a magical romance, it retains many of the grim realities of medieval life and death. (There is a section more than 20 lines long about the gutting of a deer -- which I’ve never seen put into poetry before). It also evidences a stoic acceptance of fate that I always find appealing.

I highly recommend this poem and this translation to anyone interested poetry, Arthurian legends and medieval magic.

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