Forgive my desire to echo the alliterative style of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but I’m really rather excited.
You see, yesterday I made it my quest to read the entirety of Simon Armitage’s new translation of Gawain in the Chapel Perilous of St Dunstan in the East. To start, it was a gloriously sunny day. Furthermore, I cycled there from Covent Garden on a Barclays hire bike and luckily avoided a car-kiss.*
The story itself is brilliant, and if you’ve yet to read it I implore that you do. It tells the fascinating and chivalrous tale of Gawain – youngest and purest of Arthur’s Camelot. It is a tale of supernature, of temptation and of the remarkable times of its construct. I’ll refrain from discussing the plot here if you’ve yet to read it, for I’d rather not spoil its excellence. However, I’m sure myself and my other readers** will discuss this in the comments below.
Armitage’s translation is fantastic and fully captures the power and poetry of the original. Stood alongside Heaney’s Beowulf, and it more than holds its own. I’ve yet to decide which is superior – perhaps subsequent rereadings will tell.
For sure, they will occur.
Speaking of Beowulf and Gawain, the manuscripts are on display at the British Library. I cannot stress highly enough their literary importance nor their literal pricelessness. I urge you to see them.
* Forgive too the kenning.
** Who have, this week, moved into four figures. I’m lead to believe they’re Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.