Read kindle Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Penguin Classics –

Composed during the fourteenth century in the English Midlands, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight describes the events that follow when a mysterious green coloured knight rides into King Arthurs Camelot in deep mid winter The mighty knight presents a challenge to the court he will allow himself to be struck by one blow, on the condition that he will be allowed to return the strike on the following New Years Eve Sir Gawain takes up the challenge, decapitating the stranger only to see the Green Knight seize up his own severed head and ride away, leaving Gawain to seek him out and honour their pact Blending Celtic myth and Christian faith, Gawain is among the greatest Middle English poems a tale of magic, chivalry and seduction The author of this little masterpiece is unknown This story or romance if you like was found in a little manuscript that was written in c.1380 There are three other stories in that manuscript presumably by the same author.King Arthur, his wife Guinevere, and the Knights of The Round Table are celebrating Christmas and New Year at the famous castle Camelot One evening a huge knight on horseback bursts into the Hall during dinner, brandishing a large and fearsome battle axe Everything about him is green, not only his armor as one might expect but also his face, his hair, and even his horse He has come in peace as he is advertising than once In short he says who is bold enough to step forward and try to chop my head off with this battle axe But after one year and a day it will be my turn to deal a blow Gawain, one of the Knights of The Round Table, steps forward, takes the axe and beheads the Green Knight As if nothing happened the Green Knight picks up his head, takes it under his arm and the head says a year and one day from now it will be my turn to give you a blow You have to promise that you will come looking for me You can find me at the Green Chapel It s almost a joke but who knows Maybe this is all just a joke If you survive my blow I will give you a great reward The Knight doesn t want to say where the Green Chapel can be found It s far away from here but you will find people who can show you the way And remember, you promised And so the adventure begins for Gawain He has to go without a companion He stands on his own for that was a part of the deal.This Fantasy element is the only one in the story Everything else is realistic That could be an indication that some scholars are right when they say that the Green Knight is a symbol for the reviving of Nature after the winter There is a parallel between this symbolism and Gawain who s becoming mature as the story unfolds Throughout the story he s tempted in many ways to betray his vow of chastity and loyalty to the Virgin Mary, and near the and of the story he s tempted into cowardice After all is said and done Gawain has a realistic view on knighthood He becomes adult and reaches a new stage in his life just like the revival of Nature by the Green Knight.One of the things I like in this medieval romance are the hunting scenes described very vividly and in great detail It starts with a description of the animal they want to hunt down its strong and weak points During the chase it is as if you can hear the horns blow and the shouts of the hunters, the barking of the hounds and the grunting of the wounded animal and it ends with the cutting of the meat after the bowels are given to the hounds as a reward.Bernard O Donoghue has done a very fine job in translating this little masterpiece of medieval literature It s a vivid and a very readable verse translation of this engrossing adventure. Good book. Very niche market but it is one of the canon of OE lit. This blank verse translation of an anonymous 14th century poem is an easy read, with an interesting, surprising twist at the end.The chivalry and seduction aspects are easy to accept in modern terms, while the magic and motivation for the exchange of potentially fatal blows is harder to come to terms with A most enjoyable read.