This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Anonymous

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (original 1925; edition 2007)

by Anonymous, Bernard O'Donoghue (Translator), Bernard O'Donoghue (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,97571999 (3.77)251
Title:Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Other authors:Bernard O'Donoghue (Translator), Bernard O'Donoghue (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2007), Paperback, 94 pages
Collections:British Literature Reading List, Your library

Work details

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet (1925)

  1. 151
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (OwenGriffiths, chrisharpe)
    OwenGriffiths: If you like Old/Middle English texts translated by great poets...
  2. 91
    Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson (chrisharpe)
  3. 60
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight / Pearl / Cleanness / Patience by A. C. Cawley (OwenGriffiths)
  4. 40
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo by J. R. R. Tolkien (Muscogulus)
    Muscogulus: Tolkien's fluent translations of "Sir Gawain" and "Pearl" are an excellent introduction to the genius of the anonymous Pearl-Poet. "Sir Orfeo" with its strange images of Faerie makes a good addition to the volume.
  5. 40
    The Sagas of Icelanders by Örnólfur Thorsson (chrisharpe)
  6. 30
    The poems of Ossian by James MacPherson (ghilbrae)
  7. 31
    The Death of King Arthur by Anonymous (jm501, jm501)
  8. 11
    Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Two works in older forms of English which play with forms from even older forms of English.
  9. 33
    The Odyssey by Homer (chrisharpe)
  10. 22
    On Hunting by Roger Scruton (bertilak)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 251 mentions

English (68)  Spanish (3)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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 condescended to in rhyming couplets.

This tale is fabulous in every sense of the word, which is no surprise since it's survived for so many centuries. But poet and translator Simon Armitage has made the old world new again. He sucked me right in and never let me come up for air with his gorgeous words and his carefully chosen words and his alliterative rhythmical phrases.

If the idea of a Norton Critical Edition is keeping you far away from this delightful read, rest assured it's not stodgy or dry or just plain boring. It's vibrant, alive, shimmering with an inner power, waiting for you to open its covers and fall utterly under its spell. Become happily ensorcelled, gentle reader, relax into the sure and strong embrace of a centuries-old knight and his spectacular tale. ( )
4 vote richardderus | Nov 27, 2017 |
The poet of this poem (and a few others) is unknown, and scholars have been guessing and debating for decades. In any case, this poet was a contemporary of Chaucer, but his poems are much more accessible. I can only imagine how difficult the translating is, as this poem is alliterative, with clear cadences throughout. I actually read about half of it out loud, simply because it sounds good.

Gawain is a well-known character in Arthurian circles, though I am unfamiliar with him. In this poem he takes on a challenge given by the Green Knight--and fulfills it. No spoilers, but a quest of sorts is involved, as well as honesty.

There are also some short essays on the manuscript, the poet, the pentangle, Arthurian themes, and there are a few pages of original text (which is almost readable but not quite).

Very much worth reading! ( )
  Dreesie | Aug 25, 2017 |
I love this Edition of the book. Some say the Simon Armitage translation has too many modern inclusions, however that is what makes it approachable to the modern reader. The flow of the metre and the language is so rich you can just feel the heavy air in the ancient halls or the spring-fresh breezes and tang of new growth. All is enhanced by this Folio Society edition which Diana Sudyka presents us a mixture of a modern minimalist style (bold outline-stroke outlines) enriched with the classic medieval styling of vibrant color accents.
A Beautiful and certainly collectable classic. ( )
  AmishTechie | Jul 5, 2017 |
I've read this in both the original ME and the [a:Marie Borroff|42684|Marie Borroff|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-ccc56e79bcc2db9e6cdcd450a4940d46.png] translation (very good) which you find in the Nortons and can't believe I never recorded it on goodreads before as it is a favourite of mine. It's a fantastic story: the suspense is rich which the verses and metre only amplify. The pacing is incredible, especially when compared to some of the other poems from this period. It's got a cinematic quality which unfortunately no one has ever carried forward onto the screen. I wish that someone would do it well! Whenever people scoff at the idea that something from so long ago is unappealing and irrelevant to our modern interests I want to point them here because this story is so cool.

The first time I read this it was for the very first English class I took at university (which I so loved). It was Friday, it was Hallowe'en, and that English course was my only class that day. We only had to read the first part, and I did so in the morning before class began at 11. Every verse drew me further in, eerie and suspenseful, and the unsettling end of that first fit put me in the most joyfully spooky Hallowe'en mood. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Interesting story, well executed compellingly told, excellent and sometimes beautiful use of language and good moral messages. Would give a higher rating but for the ending.

When everything is done, and Gawain completes his quest, and the moral aspects of the story are dealt with (truth, honour, keeping word, resisting temptation etc), the Green Knight reveals the identity of the Old Woman in his castle as none other than Morgana le Fey, Arthur's mortal enemy and practitioner of Black Magic- who put him up to challenging Arthur's knights.

Said Green Knight seems to have no problem Morgana living in his manor, and doing what she says, and asks dear Gawain to come in and say hello to her because she is his Aunt-- so apparently he has no problem with her association with 'the black arts' and thinks it is perfectly acceptable for a 'good Christian' to be involved with such.

The other issue was with the translation whilst generally good, the use of some overtly modern terms and phrases could be questionable.

( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gawain Poetprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pearl Poetmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Armitage, SimonTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirtlan, Ernest J.B.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, J. R. R.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Banks, Theodore HowardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borroff, MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burrow, J.A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooper, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, KeithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, FrederickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markus, ManfredEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merwin, W. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neilson, William AllanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, BrianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vantuono, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
My Lady of Dreams
My Wife
(Ernest Kirtlan edition)
First words
Siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondeȝ and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroȝt
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe:
Once the siege and assault of Troy had ceased,
with the city a smoke-heap of cinders and ash,
the turncoat whose tongue had tricked his own men
was tried for his treason - the truest crime on earth.

(translated by Simon Armitage, 2007)
When the war and the siege of Troy were all over
and the city flattened to smoking rubble,
the man who'd betrayed it was brought to trial,
most certainly guilty of terrible crimes.

(translated by Bernard O'Donoghue, 2006)
After the battle and the attack were over at Troy,
The town beaten down to smoking brands and ashes,
That man enmeshed in the nets of treachery—the truest
Of men—was tried for treason; I mean

(translated by Keith Harrison, 1983)
Once the siege and assault had done for Troy,
And the city was smashed, burned to ashes,
The traitor whose tricks had taken Troy
For the Greeks, Aeneas the noble, was exiled

(translated by Burton Raffel, 1970)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine this work with the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight/Pearl/Sir Orfeo or any other omnibus work. Thank you.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary
Gawain chops green neck
But flinches when it's his turn.
He is forgiven.
The winter axe falls
and the green fruit rolls away;
Gawain will suffer.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140440925, Paperback)

‘Be prepared to perform what you promised, Gawain;
Seek faithfully till you find me …’

A New Year’s feast at King Arthur’s court is interrupted by the appearance of a gigantic Green Knight, resplendent on horseback. He challenges any one of Arthur’s men to behead him, provided that if he survives he can return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates the knight – but the mysterious warrior cheats death and vanishes, bearing his head with him. The following winter Gawain sets out to find the Knight in the wild Northern lands and to keep his side of the bargain. One of the great masterpieces of Middle English poetry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight magically combines elements of fairy tale and heroic sagas with the pageantry, chivalry and courtly love of medieval Romance.

Brian Stone’s evocative translation is accompanied by an introduction that examines the Romance genre, and the poem’s epic and pagan sources. This edition also includes essays discussing the central characters and themes, theories about authorship and Arthurian legends, and suggestions for further reading and notes.

@GawainsWorld So listen here, some green man came to the hall and wants someone to cut his head off. Some sort of dare? Could be fun, right?

The deal is I cut off his head now, and he cuts off mine a year later. What a jester, doesn’t he know he’ll be dead?

This goblin fellow is totally dead.

All seemed fine until Ichabod Crane here fell to the floor, stood up, and picked up his head. His head, in his hands. In HIS HANDS!

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:24 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

Retells the story of Gawain's quest for the Green Chapel and his puzzling encounters with Sir Bercilak and his lady.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.77)
0.5 1
1 19
1.5 9
2 64
2.5 7
3 206
3.5 58
4 339
4.5 34
5 218

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393060489, 0393334155

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,971,606 books! | Top bar: Always visible