W. S. Merwin's 2002 translation is our only billingual edition of Sir Gawain—some readers might enjoy the challenge of trying to decipher the lines of Middle English. Note the key word "try"—you will soon have a new appreciation for Middle English scholars after staring at the original text for a few minutes. "His verse seems closer to oral poetry than the metrical forms that were about to succeed it," translator W.S. Merwin writes in his introduction, "It demands to be heard..." Merwin, who won the 2009 Pulitzer prize for The Shadow of Sirius, approaches Sir Gawain as a skilled poet trained to appreciate sound and color and robust narrative.
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