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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo
Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo 1975.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorChristopher Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin
ReleasedSeptember 1975
FormatHardcover; paperback; deluxe edition

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo is a book collecting J.R.R. Tolkien's translations of three Middle English texts (all written around 14th century):

On the last page is attached a four-stanza text Gawain's Leave-taking, which was translated by Tolkien from two other medieval poems.

The book was published in 1975, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

It also includes commentaries by Tolkien discussing various aspects of the poems.


[edit] Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Pearl
  • Sir Orfeo
  • Glossary
  • Appendix on Verse-forms
  • Gawain's Leave-taking

[edit] From the publisher

This new edition contains the fully-reset text of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex and honour. It features a beautifully decorated text and includes as a bonus the complete version of Tolkien’s acclaimed lecture on Sir Gawain.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values.

Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters.

Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkien’s.

The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals, and are uniquely accompanied with the complete text of Tolkien’s acclaimed 1953 W.P. Ker Memorial Lecture that he delivered on Sir Gawain.

[edit] Publication history and gallery

In 2020, a deluxe slipcased edition was published by HarperCollins. This edition includes: the complete text of Tolkien's lecture on Sir Gawain, a facsimile of the first three verses of the manuscript Gawain's Leave-taking, and a facsimile of the fourth verse of it.

UK Editions
1975 hardcover  
1979 paperback  
1979 paperback 10th impression  
1995 paperback  
2006 paperback  
2020 hardcover deluxe edition  
2021 paperback  

[edit] See also