Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Mr B's review
Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018
Simon Armitage’s translation of this C14 poem, in which Sir Gawain beheads a mysterious knight, knowing he will face the same fate in a year’s time, has in itself become an adored classic. This version allows contemporary readers to experience the atmosphere and drama of a story whose creator we know hardly anything about. In this revised edition though, we’re also treated to a series of intensely colourful screen-prints, uncanny and joyful in equal measure, to further feed the imagination.
When a mysterious green knight arrives unbidden at Camelot one Christmas, only the young and inexperienced Gawain is brave or foolhardy enough to take up his challenge . . .
This story, first told in the late fourteenth century, is one of the most enthralling, enigmatic and beloved poems in the English language. Simon Armitage’s version is meticulously responsive to the tact, sophistication and dramatic intensity of the original. It is as if, six hundred years apart, two poets set out on a journey through the same mesmeric landscape – physical, allegorical and acoustic – in the course of which the Gawain poet has finally found his true translator.
The poem’s key episodes have been visualised into a series of bold, richly textured screen-prints by British artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins. They are reproduced here, alongside Armitage’s revised text, to create a special edition of this marvellous classic.