JoDean's Reviews > Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown
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's review
Dec 30, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry, middle-ages-knights-and-stuff

My 16yo son received this book for Christmas from his uncle. One of the recommendations on the back cover described this translation as "luscious." I wanted to read it to see if it was luscious language or luscious flirtation or more. It's the former.

I very much enjoyed reading this. Poetry is hard to translate; either exact word for word translating or the rhyme and meter must be sacrificed. Armitage choose to keep the strong alliteration.

This edition has a strong introduction, a note on Middle English meter, and information on the Gawain poet. I found all that fascinating for either my English lit class missed this entirely or I was asleep during that unit. Trying to read the Middle English version was a fun challenge, but I definitely needed the translation on the facing page.

I'm wanting now to read Tolkien's translation; I hear it has a glossary!

Oh, and bravo to Sir Gawain for passing this moral test!

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