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Gawayne and the Green Knight

Carlton Miner Lewis

Book Overview: 

Charlton Miner Lewis’ version of Gawayne and the Green Knight, a late 14th century alliterative romance, is written in modern language telling the story of the Green Knight’s challenge to Gawayne, and the romance between Sir Gawayne and Lady Elfinhart. The name Gawayne is often also spelled Gawain.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Nor any flower, the loveliest and the best,
Can image to you half the charm compressed
In those dear eyes, those lips,—nay, every part
That made that sum of witcheries—Elfinhart.
Her face was a dim dream of shadowy light,
Like misty moonbeams on the fields of night,
And in her voice sweet nature's sweetest tunes
Sang the glad song of twenty cloudless Junes.
Her raiment,—nay; go, reader, if you please,
To some sage Treatise on Antiquities,
Whence writers of historical romances
Cull old embroideries for their new-spun fancies;
I care not for the trivial, nor the fleeting.
Beneath her dress a woman's heart was beating
The rhythm of love's eternal eloquence,
And I confess to you, in confidence,
Though flowers have grown a thousand years above her,
Unseen, unknown, with all my soul I love her.
From these digressions upon love and glory,
'. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I'd been attracted to this poem for years and years, but somehow never read it; tiptoeing 'round it like a gentleman too dignified to display his blood-gorged book lust. The title itself attracted me - the name Gawain and the idea of a Green Knight evoked plenty of mental imagery: greenery and si...more

I first read this in 1975. I've read it several times since. The translation (Marie Borroff) is good. I am entirely taken in by the parallel structures in the story. Sir Gawain comes off as a wonderfully human character in a type of literature not known for well developed characters.

Contains the greatest "OH FUCK" moment in medieval literature!

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - listed here as written by Unknown, though I believe it may have been penned by that prolific Greek author Anonymous - is a classic tale from Arthurian legend in which the code of honor attributed to chivalry is heavily en...literature!Sir

Shame be to the man who has evil in his mind

Written c. 1375, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an Arthurian quest fantasy. It has all the elements that make such a fantasy work, the brave and redoubted knight, the alluring lady, the magical and mysterious stranger (after all, the Green Knight is a...more

Simon Armitage translation (Faber & Faber / Norton), and the Oxford edition's notes

I'd half forgotten about Gawain and the Green Knight - and I'd definitely forgotten it was set over Christmas and New Year, until I heard this mid-December episode of In Our Time. As I thought during the programme how...more

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by an anonymous late 14th Century author is a chivalric romance written in Middle English. But you don’t have to be proficient in Middle English to read it as there are several excellent translations available, including some on line.

This is a delightful Medi...more

Rating: 5* of five

This is the book to get your poetry-resistant friend this #Booksgiving 2017. I read it on a dare. I don't like poetry very much, it's so snooty and at the same time so pit-sniffingly self-absorbed that I'd far rather stab my hands with a fork repeatedly than be conde...more

One of the best of the 'classic' Arthurian tales. Gawain is presented a bit differently here from many of the other ones. Usually he's a bit of a braggart and kind of a jerk, especially to women, but here he is presented as the perfect exemplar of courtoisie. He's also a bit young and still untri...more

Enchanting translation that made me love words again. The cadence and rhythm Armitage employed gave life to the modern English rather than direct translation. The Introduction laid out precisely what he would do and why he made the choice he did--to preserve the beauty of the poetry, both the all...more

I gave this three stars because it whetted my sapiosexuality for (view spoiler)[Morgan la Fay (hide spoiler)], because seriously, if you hate women, there's only three things you can do to tide me over with your writing: not write about them, be glorious at everything else, or include a female character who for all your fancy rhyt... (hide spoiler)]

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