|Digital List Price:||$6.99|
|Print List Price:||$10.95|
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Sir Gawain and The Green Knight (Oxford World's Classics) Kindle Edition
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I give 5 stars for the book itself.
2. This review is for the Kindle version. AS WITH MANY CLASSICS titles (i.e. works in the Western Cannon), THE KINDLE VERSION IS A MESS.
--One cannot highlight individual words or make notes on individual words or lines, forcing one to write one note per page.
--The endnotes are not hyperlinked. One of the advantages of ebook over traditional is hyperlinks. This doesn't have those in the text itself.
--Because one cannot highlight individual words, one cannot use the dictionary/Wikipedia options.
3. If this book were free, some problems would be acceptable. But it's not free. It provides LESS VALUE than the printed book and many versions of free or $0.99 books.
4. Amazon needs to stop contributing to the decline of Western civilization and clean up its sloppy handling of our classic works, especially those in translation.
--Until these problems are fixed, keep Kindle reviews and general book reviews separate.
--Be careful about what translation someone is actually purchasing. I'll pay $8 for a good translation but I should get the creaky 19th century translation for free.
--Treat these books with the same care re: technology as others. We want even more to take notes and look up words and flip back and forth between sections in these books. Just because one reads a book written in the Middle Ages doesn't mean one will accept Middle Ages standards of text (when most people had no access to good literature, burned witches, died of the plague, etc.).
In sum, buy the paper version. Poke Amazon into making Kindle versions of The Odyssey, The Aeneid, The Metamorphoses, Sir Gawain, Arthur, Beowulf, etc. readable and in the most current translations. Good companies care about SERVICE (and making a buck).
Of course, the work itself is one of the greatest of Arthurian Romances and needs no further comment.
King Arthur, his wife Guinevere, and the Knights of The Round Table are celebrating Christmas and New Year at the famous castle 'Camelot'. One evening a huge knight on horseback bursts into the Hall during dinner, brandishing a large and fearsome battle-axe. Everything about him is green, not only his armor - as one might expect - but also his face, his hair, and even his horse. He has come in peace as he is advertising more than once. In short he says: who is bold enough to step forward and try to chop my head off with this battle-axe? But after one year and a day it will be my turn to deal a blow. Gawain, one of the Knights of The Round Table, steps forward, takes the axe and beheads the Green Knight. As if nothing happened the Green Knight picks up his head, takes it under his arm and the head says: a year and one day from now it will be my turn to give you a blow. You have to promise that you will come looking for me. You can find me at the Green Chapel ( It's almost a joke but who knows? Maybe this is all just a joke ). If you survive my blow I will give you a great reward. The Knight doesn't want to say where the Green Chapel can be found. It's far away from here but you will find people who can show you the way. And remember, you promised. And so the adventure begins for Gawain. He has to go without a companion. He stands on his own for that was a part of the deal.
This Fantasy element is the only one in the story. Everything else is realistic. That could be an indication that some scholars are right when they say that the Green Knight is a symbol for the reviving of Nature after the winter. There is a parallel between this symbolism and Gawain who's becoming more mature as the story unfolds. Throughout the story he's tempted in many ways to betray his vow of chastity and loyalty to the Virgin Mary, and near the end of the story he's tempted into cowardice. After all is said and done Gawain has a more realistic view on knighthood. He becomes adult and reaches a new stage in his life just like the revival of Nature by the Green Knight.
One of the things I like in this medieval romance are the hunting scenes described very vividly and in great detail. It starts with a description of the animal they want to hunt down: its strong and weak points. During the chase it is as if you can hear the horns blow and the shouts of the hunters, the barking of the hounds and the grunting of the wounded animal and it ends with the cutting of the meat after the bowels are given to the hounds as a reward.