The New Year has just been rung in when a terrifying stranger rides into Camelot: a great green knight who challenges King Arthur’s knights to a wager. One of them may strike him with the Green Knight’s own axe, but in return, the Green Knight must be allowed to strike a return blow in a year and a day. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge, and bravely beheads the stranger, but to the court’s horror, the headless knight rides off, holding Gawain to his promise… A year later, Gawain sets off through the snowy wastes, towards an encounter that will test his courage, his chivalry and his very soul.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a masterpiece of medieval literature. Hailed by writers from J. R. R. Tolkien to Seamus Heaney, it is at once a stirring supernatural adventure and a profound meditation on courage, loyalty and human imperfection. This acclaimed new verse translation by award-winning poet Simon Armitage brings the beauty and robust vitality of the medieval original to a new generation of readers.
‘I couldn’t put down Simon Armitage’s compulsively readable new translation’
‘One of the masterpieces of 14th-century art in England, and of English literature as a whole’
J. R. R. TOLKIEN