Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

A New Verse Translation

by Anonymous, Simon Armitage (Translator)
Trade Paperback, 208 pages
List Price: $14.95 Sale Price: $12.71

One of the earliest great stories of English literature after BeowulfSir Gawain 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 Armitage, one of Britain's leading poets, produced in 2008 an inventive and groundbreaking translation that "[helps] liberate Gawain from academia" (Sunday Telegraph). It is presented here as a bilingual edition, the second we offer.

As a poet trying to harmonize with the original rather than transcribe every last word of it, Armitage does take liberties, but, like Borroff's version, his alliterative style and ability to juxtapose the contrasts of the poem, brings it to life. As he says, "It is an attempt to combine meaning with feeling. I always intended this to be a translation not only for the eye, but for the ear and voice as well..." This has become one of our favorite modern translations.

Folio also did an edition of his translation, but instead of the bilingual text, their edition was illustrated. If you'd like to explore that possibility, you can view that version here on Internet Archive.

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The Guardian: Knight's Tale
Simon Armitage talks about translating Sir Gawain.
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