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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translationby Simon Armitage
Synopses & Reviews
New York Times bestseller
“An incomplete but highly compelling retelling . . . An action-packed, doom-haunted saga, full of vivid natural description.”—New York Times Book Review
The Fall of Arthur recounts in verse the last campaign of King Arthur, who, even as he stands at the threshold of Mirkwood, is summoned back to Britain by news of the treachery of Mordred. Already weakened in spirit by Guineveres infidelity with the now-exiled Lancelot, Arthur must rouse his knights to battle one last time against Mordreds rebels and foreign mercenaries. Powerful, passionate, and filled with vivid imagery, this unfinished poem reveals Tolkiens gift for storytelling at its brilliant best. Christopher Tolkien, editor, contributes three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work his father applied to bring the poem to a finished form, and investigate the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and Tolkiens Middle-earth.
“Compelling in pace, haunted by loss, it lives up to expectations.”—Daily Beast
“Erudite and beautiful.” - NPR.org
Following in the tradition of Seamus Heaney's reworking of "Beowulf," Armitage, one of England's leading poets, has produced a virtuoso new translation of the 600-year-old Arthurian story with both clarity and verve.
"Compulsively readable. ... Simon Armitage has given us an energetic, free-flowing, high-spirited version."--Edward Hirsch,
The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skillful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative meter, but it depicts drama and adventure in language only Tolkien could have written. Edited by his son Christopher Tolkien, who also provides detailed commentary and notes.
One of the earliest great stories of English literature after ?, ? 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 ?from academia" (?).
"Promises to drive the green force of the old poem through the Armitage fuse and set it a-buddin' and a-bloomin' for the new millennium."'"Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate, best-selling translator of BeowulfCom posed in the late fourteenth century by an anonymous author in the English provinces, this remarkable epic has enchanted readers for generations. The work itself is an unparalleled masterpiece of alliteration and rhyme, beginning at Christmastime in Camelot, when the festivities of the Round Table are interrupted by the sudden appearance of a fearful stranger, green from head to foot. A young knight, Gawain, rises to the challenge. What follows is a test of nerve and heart as Gawain travels north to meet his destiny at the Green Chapel in a year's time. Following in the tradition of Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage, one of England's leading poets, has produced a virtuoso new translation that resounds with both clarity and verve.
About the Author
Simon Armitage, whose The Shoutwas a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, has published ten volumes of poetry and has received numerous honors for his work. He lives in England.
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Fiction and Poetry » Classics » British Medieval and Renaissance