HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
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.

Loading...

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo

by Gawain Poet, J. R. R. Tolkien (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,874173,936 (3.86)51
This elegant deluxe slipcased edition of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex and honour, features a beautifully decorated text and includes as a bonus the complete text of Tolkien's acclaimed lecture on Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values. Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters. Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkien's. The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals, and are uniquely accompanied in this special deluxe slipcased edition with the complete text of Tolkien's acclaimed 1953 W.P. Ker Memorial Lecture that he delivered on Sir Gawain.… (more)
  1. 10
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (chrisharpe)
  2. 10
    Finn and Hengest by J. R. R. Tolkien (MissBrangwen)
  3. 02
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 2nd Edition Rev By Norman Davis by Tolkien - Gordon (MissBrangwen)
    MissBrangwen: This is the text in Middle English, complete with glossary, so it's well worth a try if you would like to sample the original.
Loading...

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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Sir Gawain's story was pretty interesting, as was Sir Orfeo's. Pearl was just . . . boring. And long. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
The last time that I tried to read a proper collection of stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table it did not go exactly as planned; the stories themselves were full of adventure and information about the Middle Ages, but I could not for the life of me tolerate Mallory’s dry style of storytelling, so I quit reading to focus on the lovely accompanying illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was a considerably shorter tome (coming in at less than 150 pages), and it’s J.R.R. Tolkien translating from the original Middle English text, so I figured that I was in safer hands this time around. I’ve previously read the story of Sir Gawain and his travails with the Green Knight previously during a medieval studies course in university, but it’s been so long that besides the basic plot points I had largely forgotten the story. Tolkien chose to keep the poem in a narrative structure that imitated the original middle English as much as possible, while making the poem far more readable to modern audiences through a basic linguistic update, so I had no trouble getting into the story. The form of the poem is fully narrative in structure, so it reads like a rollicking adventure throughout, even though Tolkien retains the alliteration and rhythms that would have made the poem auditorily interesting to medieval audiences and does little to smooth out some of the stranger story elements. If I had to recommend a translation of Sir Gawain, this one would definitely it, since Tolkien has struck a good balance between the original form of the piece while making it palatable to modern readers.

Editor Christopher Tolkien also includes two other poems in this collection, neither of which quite live up to Sir Gawain, but which are interesting none the less. I fully admit to having skipped over “Pearl” because I have very little tolerance for stories which spend the majority of their time whining about their woes, but “Sir Orfeo” was a great little fairytale to discover! I’m surprised that this story isn’t more widely known, because its plotline is equally as entertaining as Sir Gawain, even if it doesn’t have the moral messages that seem to have kept writings of this era “in print.” The poem is short, but contains some wonderful examples of the mixing of Greek and English folklore elements and almost begins to explore deeper characterizations before its conclusion - all features which would lend wonderfully to a modern retelling! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Such a fun read! A simple tale, cleverly translated by Tolkien.
( )
  redeemedronin | Dec 28, 2020 |
The Oxford don J.R.R. Tolkien is mostly known for composing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, before this trilogy, he built his academic career as an acclaimed expert on Anglo-Saxon culture, language, and literature. In his work, he translates three works from the Middle English into modern idiom. The quality of the translation demonstrates the vastness of Tolkien’s literary brilliance.

Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales are the two most-read works from the Old English and Middle English tongues. As suggested by Tolkien, these three tales deserve to have a prominent place in this literary canon as well. As with Beowulf, their original author or authors is/are unknown. They were probably passed down orally (think stories by the fire at night) before being inscribed at some point. Nonetheless, they share interesting tales that illustrate the quality of life during medieval England and represent an early triumph of the expanding English tongue.

Sir Gawain makes great use of alliteration in Tolkien’s translation. Many lines repeat words starting with one letter. In addition, this work encodes a story of love, honor, duty, and courage. It describes a sacred quest by a knight from King Arthur’s time. Humanistic qualities in addition to literary quality place it among the great works of Old and Middle English.

Pearl describes holy beauty, symbolized by a pearl and a child, in the midst of a profane, ugly world. It is marked by a complex rhyming structure. Indeed, this lyrical frame probably aided in memorization at some point in history. This poem contains much Christian theology and deals with quintessentially medieval, Augustinian views on God and life.

Sir Orfeo is a comparatively short poem, also rhymed, of a king’s quest for redemption and inner nobility. It lauds a servant – a medieval everyman – who dutifully honors his lord and is rewarded in the end.

These translations are entertaining and masterful. They contain words that are not common to American usage – words like “gramercy” and “bayed.” Diction like these expands our imagination into medieval Britain and the language of Middle English. Through this translation, we see Tolkien’s scholarly mastery of the ancient Anglo-Saxon world and are enriched by its gifts. ( )
  scottjpearson | Mar 7, 2020 |
I'm mostly here for Sir Gawain; Pearl is very much medieval theology, and thus interesting primarily for academic reasons, and Sir Orfeo is an interesting retelling of Orpheus set in England with faeries but of that style of poetry that's liable to put you to sleep if you don't pay close attention. The Sir Gawain, however, is fantastic, and if you can parse the deep language of academia, the translation notes are rather enlightening on medieval English styles of poetry. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Dec 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gawain PoetAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, J. R. R.Translatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Baynes, PaulineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, NormanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, E.V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, I. L.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, TerryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
When the siege and the assault had ceased at Troy, and the fortress fell in flame to firebrands and ashes, the traitor who the contrivance of treason there fashioned was tried for his treachery, the most true upon earth—it was Aeneas the noble and his renowned kindred who then laid under them lands, and lords became of well-nigh all the wealth in the Western Isles.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This work contains three poems: the title poem plus Pearl and Sir Orfeo.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

This elegant deluxe slipcased edition of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex and honour, features a beautifully decorated text and includes as a bonus the complete text of Tolkien's acclaimed lecture on Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values. Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters. Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkien's. The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals, and are uniquely accompanied in this special deluxe slipcased edition with the complete text of Tolkien's acclaimed 1953 W.P. Ker Memorial Lecture that he delivered on Sir Gawain.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.86)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 14
2.5 3
3 89
3.5 10
4 123
4.5 8
5 80

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 171,549,187 books! | Top bar: Always visible