Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo
|Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo|
|Publisher||George Allen and Unwin|
|Format||Hardcover; 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.
It also includes commentaries by Tolkien discussing various aspects of the poems.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Sir Orfeo
- Appendix on Verse-forms
- Gawain's Leave-taking
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.
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
- George Allen and Unwin hardcover (1975), pp. 148. ISBN 0048210358
- Unwin Paperbacks paperback (1979), ISBN 0048210390
- 1979 paperback edition 10th impression (1990)
- HarperCollins paperback (1995), pp. 150. ISBN 0261102591
- HarperCollins paperback (2006), ISBN 0261102591
- HarperCollins hardcover with slipcase (2020), pp. 176. ISBN 0008393621
- HarperCollins paperback (2021), pp. 256. ISBN 0008433933