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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

A Close Verse Translation

Larry D. Benson

Publication Year: 2012

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late fourteenth-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. In this poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious green warrior. In a struggle to uphold his oath along this quest, Gawain demonstrates chivalry, loyalty, and honor.  This new verse translation of the most popular and enduring fourteenth century romance to survive to the present offers students an accessible way of approaching the literature of medieval England without losing the flavor of the original writing. The language of Sir Gawain presents considerable problems to present-day readers as it is written in the West Midlands dialect before English became standardized. With a foreword by David Donoghue, the close verse translation includes facing pages of the original fourteenth-century text and its modern translation.

Medieval European Studies Series, Volume 13

Published by: West Virginia University Press

Front Cover

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Medieval European Studies Series Page

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Contents

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p. v-v

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Acknowledgments

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p. vi-vi

Both of us owe thanks to Pat Conner for initiating the process by which West Virginia University Press undertook this publication. Daniel thanks Larry for the invitation to collaborate and for good conversations over Mexican food. Larry owes thanks to many, such...

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Foreword

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pp. vii-xxv

When Larry Benson first described his project to translate Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I was skeptical. It wasn’t just the thought that other translations have appeared in recent years. “Why another?” is easily answered if the translation is good, and Benson has every credential a translator needs, because his ties to...

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pp. xxvi-xxvii

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A Note on the Middle English Original Text

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pp. xxviii-xviii

The Middle English text, edited by Donoghue, accepts for the most part the emendations found in Davis’s revision of Gordon and Tolkien’s edition (1967), with the following exceptions: Ticius (11), glaumande (line 46), cayreӡ (734), nyӡt (929), ӡif (2343). It retains the letter yogh <ӡ> from the manuscript in word-final position when...

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I

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pp. 1-38

1 Siþen þe sege and þe assaut watӡ sesed at Troye,
Þe borӡ brittened and brent to brondeӡ and askeӡ,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroӡt
Watӡ tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe...

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II

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pp. 39-84

This hanselle hatӡ Arthur of auenturus on fyrst
In ӡonge ӡer, for he ӡerned ӡelpyng to here.
Thaӡ hym wordeӡ were wane when þay to sete wenten,
Now ar þay stoken of sturne werk, stafful her hond...

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III

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pp. 85-148

Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vprysen,
Gestes þat go wolde hor gromeӡ þay calden,
And þay busken vp bilyue blonkkeӡ to sadel,
Tyffen her takles, trussen her males...

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IV

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pp. 149-187

Now neӡeӡ þe Nw Ӡere, and þe nyӡt passeӡ,
Þe day dryueӡ to þe derk, as Dryӡtyn biddeӡ;
2000 Bot wylde wedereӡ of þe worlde wakned þeroute,
Clowdes kesten kenly þe colde to þe erþe...

About the Author, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781935978633
E-ISBN-10: 1935978101
Print-ISBN-13: 9781933202891
Print-ISBN-10: 1933202890

Page Count: 186
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Medieval European Studies
Series Editor Byline: Patrick Conner

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Gawain (Legendary character) -- Romances.
  • Knights and knighthood -- Poetry.
  • Arthurian romances.
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