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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo

de Gawain Poet, J. R. R. Tolkien (Tradutor), Unknown (Autor)

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2,565164,172 (3.88)50
Retells the story of Gawain's quest for the Green Chapel and his puzzling encounters with Sir Bercilak and his lady.
  1. 10
    Beowulf de Beowulf Poet (chrisharpe)
  2. 10
    Finn and Hengest de J. R. R. Tolkien (MissBrangwen)
  3. 02
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 2nd Edition Rev By Norman Davis de 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.
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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 |
I read this---just Sir Gawain and the Green Knight---aloud to my children to go along with their history curriculum. I remember reading and retaining very little of this poem in college, and I was surprised at just how much it seemed to speak to my children. It says something either about Tolkien's translation or about my attention level in late adolescence that I didn't notice the alliteration until I read it this time around.

I'm not entirely sure what the literary purpose is of going into such detail about the dressing of deer and boars after the hunt, and I don't think I noticed how suggestive the bedroom bits were when I wasn't reading it to my kids, but I did learn a goodly number of new vocabulary words. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Aug 24, 2016 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (82 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Gawain PoetAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Tolkien, J. R. R.Tradutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
UnknownAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Baynes, PaulineArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Davis, NormanEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gordon, E.V.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gordon, I. L.Contribuinteautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Howe, JohnArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jones, TerryNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tolkien, ChristopherPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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.
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Please do not combine with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This work contains three poems: the title poem plus Pearl and Sir Orfeo.
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Retells the story of Gawain's quest for the Green Chapel and his puzzling encounters with Sir Bercilak and his lady.

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