Synopses & Reviews
Be prepared to perform what you promised, Gawain;
Seek faithfully till you find me
A New Years feast at King Arthurs court is interrupted by the appearance of a gigantic Green Knight, resplendent on horseback. He challenges any one of Arthurs men to behead him, provided that if he survives he can return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates the knight but the mysterious warrior cheats death and vanishes, bearing his head with him. The following winter Gawain sets out to find the Knight in the wild Northern lands and to keep his side of the bargain. One of the great masterpieces of Middle English poetry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight magically combines elements of fairy tale and heroic sagas with the pageantry, chivalry and courtly love of medieval Romance.
Brian Stones evocative translation is accompanied by an introduction that examines the Romance genre, and the poems epic and pagan sources. This edition also includes essays discussing the central characters and themes, theories about authorship and Arthurian legends, and suggestions for further reading and notes.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the masterpiece of medieval alliterative poetry.
The unknown fourteenth-century author (a contemporary of Chaucer) has imbued his work with the heroic atmostphere of a saga, with the spirit of French romance and with a Christian consciousness. It is a poem in which the virtues of a knight, Sir Gawain, triumphant in almost insuperable ordeals, are celebrated to the glory of the House of Arthur. The impact made on the reader is both magical and human, full of drama and descriptive beauty.
This is a modern translation of the classical medieval poem relating Sir Gawain's romances, his conflict with the Green Knight, and return to the Round Table.