Nikki 's Reviews > Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight by Unknown
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Sep 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, medieval-literature, favourites, arthurian, myth-legend-saga-etc
Read 8 times. Last read September 20, 2012.

"Note: you have also reviewed the following editions of this book:

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Paperback) (isbn )
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Paperback) (isbn 0140440925)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Paperback) (isbn 0140424539)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (isbn 0719055172)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (isbn 0571223281)
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight (Paperback) (isbn 0030088801)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Paperback) (isbn 1146360738)"

Oops.

Anyway, I reread Simon Armitage's translation in honour of getting a signed copy (I was going to go to his talk about his new book in Leeds, but I ended up being in Cardiff due to my grandfather's death, so we phoned up and Waterstones arranged for him to sign a copy of Sir Gawain for me, which isn't as good as getting to speak to him but is still pretty good).

For my money, though Simon Armitage's translation isn't the most accurate academic translation, it captures something that even Tolkien doesn't manage to grasp, despite the care he took translating the poem, and that I haven't seen anywhere else. I remember doing a course on this poem (in the Middle English), and we talked about the poem being playful, and in part mocking the court and Gawain (but with affection). I feel like Simon Armitage's translation brings out that aspect very well, without losing the sense of nobility and chivalry that the poem is so rightly known for.

It also barrels along at a tremendous pace, and reads a lot more like popular literature than Tolkien or Brian Stone's translations. You might not think that a good thing, of course, but I think it suits the story.
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