Alan Garner and the Green Knight

A late Christmas present from fantasy writer Alan Garner! (I’m so happy I could cry!) Garner reviews a new translation of Gawain and the Green Knight, but also reveals his previously untold (to me, anyway) contribution to scholarship — ie, being able to read the thing easily, because all the weird words are still used back around his home. And introducing his professor to his even deeper-in-dialect Dad.

Also, you can visit the Green Chapel, because it’s still exactly where the poet set it!

And we get side-by-side different modern translations of the same bit of Gawain and the Green Knight, with Garner providing the only version in his own dialect — the poem’s home dialect. Revealing and stunning!!

Why didn’t everybody link to this back in December? Or did they, and I missed it?

Honestly, run and don’t walk to read this mini-article. It is the neatest thing I’ve seen in months.

(And if you’ve never read anything by Alan Garner, get thee to the library and read. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, Elidor, The Owl Service, Red Shift… they grow increasingly different from other fantasies as they grow more melancholy and reluctant to settle for easy answers. Even when they depress you, though, they are definitely worth a read for their strange and melancholy beauty, and the solidity of their settings.)

1 Comment

Filed under fandom, History, Recommendations, Translations

One response to “Alan Garner and the Green Knight

  1. I can’t help wishing Garner would publish his own translation of Gawain, though after ‘Thursbitch’ came out he suggested that he’s now working on two novels in tandem – and he’s been researching the connections between Cheshire and New England in the 17th century, which may have something to do with them…

    Anyway, if you want to know more about Garner’s family and the Gawain poet, he’s written on it at greater length in ‘The Voice That Thunders’, which is a wonderful collection of his non-fiction.

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