The fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the greatest classics of English literature, but one of the least accessible to most twentieth-century readers. Written in an obscure dialect, it is far more difficult to digest in the original than are most other late medieval English works. Yet any translation is bound to lose much of the flavour of the original.
This edition of the poem offers the original text together with a facing-page translation. With the alliterative Middle English before the reader, James Winny provides a non-alliterative and sensitively literal rendering in modern English. This edition also provides an introduction, explanatory and textual notes, a further note on some words that present particular difficulties, and, in the appendices, two contemporary stories, The Feast of Bricriu and The Knight of the Sword, which provide insight on the poem.
“This is the best translation of Sir Gawain. It has the taughtness and vigor of the original, and it shares that Gawain-poet’s almost miraculous ability to make the remote world of Arthurian romance immediate to the reader.” — Gordon Teskey, Harvard University