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Simon Armitage — Sir Gawain & The Green Knight; Jones — The Mabinogion

Since it’s finals week and I’m fairly preoccupied with trying to study for my Sales exam, I’m just going to write down a few brief thoughts on the two books that I read this week.

Simon Armitage, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight. This is a book that doesn’t necessarily need a translation, especially if you have some passing familiarity with Middle English. However, as Armitage himself comments, it’s a bit like looking through an iced-over lake: some of the meaning is obscured. I really enjoyed reading this translation; it was lively, moved quickly, and provided the original text on the opposite page, which I always appreciate. It was enjoyable reading, clever rhyming, and made me consider checking out some of his original poetry when I’ve some more time.

Gwyn Jones & Thomas Jones, The Mabinogion. I understand this is “the” translation of these twelve Welsh myths but I just didn’t enjoy it that much. It may have been faithful but it was oh-so-dry. And I do normally enjoy dry, and I do normally enjoy myths… I was perhaps just having an off day. Back on the horse after more studying and exams are over, I would assume.


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