Cover Image: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Member Reviews

A classic tale in the Arthurian Legend that I've been interested in reading for a while. This 1909 version is told in "modernized" prose (though still using many archaic words and phrases, especially when the characters are speaking) rather than the Middle English verse of the original. I appreciated that the tale was broken up into titled sections, which made for easier reading and understanding. I would've liked some illustrations.
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This was a first for me: the first time I've read one of the famous medieval tales. I find it a silly thing to review this book based on how much I enjoyed the story, because I think it's not about that. This is an ancient classic tale: gotta love it! And I did.
As I'm not a student of Middle English literature nor an expert on it I cannot and should not judge this translation. I'm not equiped for that and I leave that to the lucky ones that have studied hard on this topic.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the tale itself and and all the good stuff in the introduction and notes section. I learned a lot from the extra info there and I wished there was more of that good stuff in the book.

Many thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.
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What a really interesting story!  This short Arthurian romance covers themes of duty, honor, truth, morality, and does it all with a strong feeling of horror and eeriness.  It is great to have stories like this and Beowulf to understand how our cultural forbearers thought, told stories, and entertained themselves.
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Jessie Laidlay Weston is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June.

I'm very looking forward to the complex visuals and themes of the upcoming movie, The Green Knight, so I'd like to read this book/sonnet and get some insight as to what it's about. ‘Translated’ from olde English into something more readable and comprehensive in longer half to three-quarter page paragraphs (and where everything is lovingly described, like every detail of a garment or a room), the green knight enters the Arthurian Round Table and is offered the challenge of a fight with his axe as a prize, which the knight Gawain accepts. In winning what he believes to be an easy feat and gaining the love of a beautiful woman, the consequences add up quickly for Gawain.
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a classic Arthurian tale, certainly one of the best known of all of them. This facsimile reprint and re-release by Dover of the 1909 edition is due out 22nd June 2021. It's 112 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is a readable and accessible translation in prose for readers who are interested in reading it for the story rather than studying the actual middle English alliterative poems in translation (in which case I recommend the Tolkein translation as an accessible alternative). This is a faithful reproduction done to Dover's high standards and is enhanced by line drawn knotwork illustrations and chapter headers and footers. This edition includes the chapter notes and introduction by the translator, Jessie L. Weston. The original text has been reproduced with misspellings and inconsistencies intact for authenticity.

Five stars. Worthwhile. Five perennial stars for Dover, long may they reign. This review is for the reformatted and re-released edition by Dover, not for the story itself (which is also a ripping yarn and scary/creepy/wild in its own right).

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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I admit to not being sure how to review this work. It is a classic and while it is a joy to read simply as a story it really is better understood as a part of Arthurian lore and medieval literature. What I did do was to look at both this translation, from 1909 by Jessie L Weston, and the version I am most familiar with, Tolkien's modern English translation. 

Aside from the usual differences between reading something in prose versus verse, I was surprised at how well Weston's translation has held up. It reads very well without, as far as I can tell, losing much in the way of nuance. I approached this from the same general position I approached deciding, many years ago, between using the Sayers or the Ciardi translations of the Divine Comedy in a course, and I think I came away with a similar opinion. I prefer the verse translations for study though I would recommend the prose translations for casual reading or for simply refamiliarizing yourself with the story. In other words, if you missed this classic back in school and want to read it now, I would recommend this edition quite readily.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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A gorgeous tale, which I had forgotten, since it was years ago when I first read the story of Gawain and the Green Knight, but I simply had to get it as an ebook, and I was not disappointed, it was as lush, descriptive and colourful as I remembered it. A timeless classic, and even if the reader has read it before, as I have done, worth getting. I am wholeheartedly recommending it to all those who enjoy a good story, and even more so if you have not read it before. You are in for a treat.
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I loved it! I'm a huge fan of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight-- in its original Middle English, the one present in the Norton Anthology, and J.R,R, Tolkien's. I think it's an amazing and worthy undertaking to put the work to prose in a way that's easy to understand for modern readers and retains characteristic archaisms. When I'm reading complex Middle English, often times I do this sort of translation in my head and that's great for studying, but it's also awesome not having to do that. I'm currently working on my own version of this for Beowulf and I wish more medieval works were given this sort of chance. 

I would recommend this retelling to lovers of literary study, Arthurian fans, and people who are just looking for a good and easy read. 

Thank you Netgalley and Dover for this arc. All opinions in this review are my own.
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