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The death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage
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The death of King Arthur (edition 2012)

by Simon Armitage (Translator)

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1066113,849 (3.73)22
Member:TheoClarke
Title:The death of King Arthur
Authors:Simon Armitage (Translator)
Info:London : Faber & Faber, 2012.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:21st century, Arthurian, chivalry, fantasy, fiction, first edition, hardcover, King Arthur, poem, poetry, translated, UK author

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The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage (Translator)

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Wonderfully amazing. This is a delightful read; the original language and the translation are presented simultaneously, allowing parallel comparison. This allows the original to come through as vibrant and alive. Well done. ( )
  Swan-in-the-Hoop | Jul 20, 2014 |
Fabulous poetry - both the original (quite a lot is understandable when read next to the translation) and the new verse translation. However the subject matter is not terribly interesting..... basically it is a propaganda exercise at a time when the English had been gradually losing control of the vast lands of Western France. King Arthur is repeatedly described as entitled to rule the Roman Empire as 'did all his ancestors except Uther'.
I really, really tried, got over half way through but despite the power of the verse the subject is just too dull. Lists of rich people killing or being killed in various different ways. I skipped over the rest of the book to see if there was any plot or any interest in his homecoming but it was just more of the same. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
I don't like this as much as Simon Armitage's other Middle English translation, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a more serious poem, I think, less playful and rich in language, but it's still pretty amazing. I can't speak for the quality of the translation right now, I haven't yet compared it with the Middle English -- I'm sure there have been liberties taken, but I think he gets across the tone of the original poem, at least. Sometimes his alliteration is a bit over the top, not quite obeying the rules; I'm not sure if the original poem is the same -- it might well be.

It's fun to read, and easy to follow -- probably less scholarly than Brian Stone's translation, and probably all the more readable for that. Interesting how much it reminds me of The Song of Roland, particularly the part where Arthur grieves over Gawain's death... ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I really liked Simon Armitage's translation of Gawain, but I can't figure out what this is. Clearly not Morte D'Arthur; Malory's not listed as an author and it's nowhere near long enough.
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is another superb translation of a middle English poem into modern language by Simon Armitage. Like [Sir Gawain and the Green Knight] it is an alliterative poem, with the rhymes and rhythms not coming from the ends of each line, but the alliteration within each line. The extends in this poem to stretching the alliteration over several lines. This type of rhythm seems to drag you along, it works really well with the descriptions of the battle and the action, seeming to hurry forward through these passages.

Tells the tale of king Arthur who receives at his court a summons from the Emperor of Rome to go and pay tribute. Arthur says (paraphrasing) "Blow that for a lark" and sets out to conquer Rome. It's all going swimmingly well until he has a nasty dream where he seems the lady fortune and is cast out by her and the wheel of fate turns. From here it's down hill all the way. At home his regent, Mordred has done what all regents do and turned against the crown - it's not going to end well and it doesn't. You know Arthur's going to die (the title does rather give that away) but that doesn't mean that it isn't an emotional send off that tugs at the heart strings.

I simply adore the style of writing. There is something about the alliterative style that I find just sweeps me up. I love the word play and juxtaposition of stresses in the lines. It always feels to me that I should be declaiming it, and maybe that's part of its charm - it harks back to a much older tradition, when stories were told not read.

I really ought to try some of Simon Armitage's modern work, rather than simply the translations, but these are just wonderful and he certainly has an ear for this - it is stuff of the highest quality. ( )
1 vote Helenliz | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Here begins the Death of Arthur.
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A new translation of the Middle English classic follows Arthur into battle and describes the death of his knights and his own poignant last moments.

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W.W. Norton

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