Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

ST on SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT

Expand Messages
  • Mark Hall
    Book Review Loving, faithful translations give Gawain, Sappho the power to take your breath away By Sheila Farr Seattle Times staff critic It takes courage
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 19 3:53 PM
      Book Review
      Loving, faithful translations give 'Gawain,' Sappho the power to take your
      breath away

      By Sheila Farr
      Seattle Times staff critic
      It takes courage to face death, but the true test of a man's character is
      — wouldn't you know it? — in bed.

      That's the lesson of one of the great seduction scenes in literature, the
      culmination of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," an anonymous medieval
      poem now poised for a smashing popular revival.

      Since Seamus Heaney's translation of "Beowulf" hit the best-seller charts a
      couple of years ago, publishers have been quick to take on new translations
      that might previously have been viewed mainly as textbook material. Last
      year Viking brought out an opulent new two-volume set of the 11th-century
      Japanese classic "Tales of Genji." Now Knopf has released two new editions:
      a wonderfully readable "Gawain," translated by W. S. Merwin, and — in
      what will surely be the definitive version for our time — "Fragments
      of Sappho," a translation of the 6th century B.C. Greek poet Sappho by the
      mercurial 21st-century poet and classics professor Anne Carson.

      Let's take Gawain first. Scholars date the poem to the 14th century, around
      the time of Chaucer, although its origins are unknown. It's a strange story
      about a huge green knight who bursts into King Arthur's Christmas
      celebrations at Camelot and challenges someone to cut off his head. Whoever
      does so will have to allow the Green Knight to return the favor the
      following year, on the monster's home turf. Sir Gawain accepts the
      challenge and scythes off the creature's head. The Green Knight picks it up
      and gallops away, but not before spelling out to Gawain the terms of their
      bargain. That's how Gawain's adventure begins, and the story is a page
      turner.


      Rest at

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/134576021_gawain17.html


      Mark Hall
      markhall@...
    • Stolzi@aol.com
      In a message dated 11/19/2002 5:56:08 PM Central Standard Time, ... isn t Merwin a poet himself? We just saw the Nashville Children s Theatre version of GAWAIN
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 20 1:20 PM
        In a message dated 11/19/2002 5:56:08 PM Central Standard Time,
        markhall@... writes:


        > translated by W. S. Merwin

        isn't Merwin a poet himself?

        We just saw the Nashville Children's Theatre version of GAWAIN and enjoyed
        it, as we do most of their shows; though we thought the seduction theme was a
        bit eyebrow-raising in a play meant for the younger set. Nothing got really
        explicit on stage, but the theme was there. I suppose it went over many
        heads, though.

        I was amused that when Gawain gives the kisses back to his host, the
        direction was that he had to do it in a silly, clownish way each time: our
        modern embarrassment with such gestures between two males did not exist in
        the time of GAWAIN, and probably still does not in many other cultures,
        today.

        Diamond Proudbrook



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.