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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [Mass Market Paperback]

Neil D. Isaacs , Brenda Webster , Burton Raffel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 7.50
Price: CDN$ 7.12 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 3 2009 Signet Classics
The epic poem of honor and bravery

Written by an anonymous fourteenth-century poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is recognized as an equal to Chaucer’s masterworks and to the great Old English poems, Beowulf included. A green-skinned knight offers the Knights of the Round Table a simple but deadly challenge—a challenge taken on by the brave Sir Gawain. A challenge that will force him to choose between his honor and his life...



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About the Author

Burton Raffel has taught English, Classics, and Comparative Literature at universities in the United States, Israel, and Canada. His books include translations of Beowulf, Horace: Odes, Epodes, Epistles, Satires, The Complete Poetry and Prose of Chairil Anwar, From the Vietnamese, Ten Centuries of Poetry, The Complete Poetry of Osip Emilevich, Mandelstram (with Alla Burago), and Poems From the Old English and The Annotated Milton; several critical studies, Introduction to Poetry, How to Read a Poem, The Development of Modern Indonesian Poetry, and The Forked Tounge: A Study of the Translation Process; and Mia Poems, a volume of his own poetry. Mr. Raffel practiced law on Wall Street and taught in the Ford Foundation’s English Language Teacher Training Project in Indonesia.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Raffel triumphs again Oct. 1 2000
Format:Perfect Paperback
This 14th Century poem is one of the earliest known works in English. Its provenance is a mystery because literally nothing is known of the poet. It is written in a unique dialect of Middle English and is pretty much unread in the original. This verse translation by Burton Raffel is terrific and does much to elevate the work to the level of Beowulf & Chaucer.
At Christmas time, a Green Knight enters Camelot and challenges any Knight of the Roundtable to smite him with one blow of a battle axe. The only catch is that one year hence the smiter must receive a similar blow from the Green Knight. Sir Gawain volunteers for this strange duty. He beheads the Green Knight who thereupon picks up his laughing head and reminds Gawain of his obligation & tells him to find him in exactly one year to receive the blow.
The enchanting adventure leading up to and inculding their subsequent confrontation is beautifully rendered by Raffel. The poem is exciting, humorous & deals with great themes: courage, honor, etc.
GRADE: A+
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful May 20 2001
Format:Perfect Paperback
I was required to read this book in college ... and I loved it. A tale of courage, the knights code of moral and adventure, this book is not only an adventure story but a depiction of the human condition. Selfishness and fear can ruin our moral constitutions. The knight was a tower strength and courage yet the book brought to focus his fears and his selfishness.
I'm sure there are deeper levels of analysis for this book - good books often do.
- johnny -
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful .. a story of the human condition May 18 2001
Format:Perfect Paperback
I was required to read this book in college ... and I loved it. A tale of courage, the knights code of moral and adventure, this book is not only an adventure story but a depiction of the human condition. Selfishness and fear can ruin our moral constitutions. The knight was a tower strength and courage yet the book brought to focus his fears and his selfishness.
I'm sure there are deeper levels of analysis for this book - good books often do.
- johnny -
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Draws on Celtic myth for a dramatic, moving tale. Sept. 26 1997
By A Customer
Format:Perfect Paperback
This exciting, powerful myth combines the best of the old Celtic belief in the sanctity of a solemn promise and the Christian ethic of forgiveness. It is moving, dramatic, and inspiring.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Jan. 17 2006
By George Byron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is perhaps the most authentically English of all the King Arthur tales. Most of the Arthurian mythos was largely a largely French creation, when the Norman conquerors discovered a few old Celtic legends about Arthur and wove them into a dynamic myth of chivalric idealism. The story of Sir Gawain is regarded by most scholars as a much purer version of those Celtic stories, as well as a much more nuanced synthesis of Celtic cultural heritage with Christian ideals. J.R.R. Tolkien was fond of citing it as one of his very favorite stories and deepest influences.

Raffel's translation is sure to endear itself to any fan of fantasy, medieval literature, or the King Arthur stories. It flows with the simple beauty of a dream, and the purity of heart of Gawain himself. Do yourself a favor and spend an hour or two reading this.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raffel triumphs again Oct. 1 2000
By Orrin C. Judd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
This 14th Century poem is one of the earliest known works in English. Its provenance is a mystery because literally nothing is known of the poet. It is written in a unique dialect of Middle English and is pretty much unread in the original. This verse translation by Burton Raffel is terrific and does much to elevate the work to the level of Beowulf & Chaucer.
At Christmas time, a Green Knight enters Camelot and challenges any Knight of the Roundtable to smite him with one blow of a battle axe. The only catch is that one year hence the smiter must receive a similar blow from the Green Knight. Sir Gawain volunteers for this strange duty. He beheads the Green Knight who thereupon picks up his laughing head and reminds Gawain of his obligation & tells him to find him in exactly one year to receive the blow.
The enchanting adventure leading up to and inculding their subsequent confrontation is beautifully rendered by Raffel. The poem is exciting, humorous & deals with great themes: courage, honor, etc.
GRADE: A+
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful May 20 2001
By xxxJohnnyBlaze - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
I was required to read this book in college ... and I loved it. A tale of courage, the knights code of moral and adventure, this book is not only an adventure story but a depiction of the human condition. Selfishness and fear can ruin our moral constitutions. The knight was a tower strength and courage yet the book brought to focus his fears and his selfishness.
I'm sure there are deeper levels of analysis for this book - good books often do.
- johnny -
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful .. a story of the human condition May 18 2001
By xxxJohnnyBlaze - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
I was required to read this book in college ... and I loved it. A tale of courage, the knights code of moral and adventure, this book is not only an adventure story but a depiction of the human condition. Selfishness and fear can ruin our moral constitutions. The knight was a tower strength and courage yet the book brought to focus his fears and his selfishness.
I'm sure there are deeper levels of analysis for this book - good books often do.
- johnny -
5.0 out of 5 stars Good March 18 2014
By Clairese Cherry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's perfect for the class I needed it in. It met every expectation. It got to me just in time.
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