John Ridland’s new Modern English translation, unlike most presentations, is complete, covering every passage and word of the Middle English, Northwest Midland dialect original with the same line numbering, contents and meaning. His is the only version written in a familiar modern meter—pleasurable to modern ears, yet retaining the spirit of repetition and alliteration of the medieval original. And Dr. Ridland’s introduction and notes are enlightening. This translation is a must-have for unlocking all the pleasures and delights of the original classic.
PRAISE FOR JOHN RIDLAND’S TRANSLATION:
With his loving rendition of a great classic into vigorous metrical lines, John Ridland has given Sir Gawain and the Green Knight a fresh lease on life. I’ve seen several other versions of this masterpiece, but none so engagingly readable as Ridland’s. His preface, too, is useful and illuminating. Here is a book to enjoy right now and to cherish forever.
John Ridland gives us a recognizably English Gawain, and a very pleasurable one at that. The language is ours. It is slightly elevated, as befits a work so finely crafted, but only enough to demand our attention. Originally written in the same alliterative verse as Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was archaic in its own day; now, over six-hundred years later, alliterative verse can be as inaccessible as the pentatonic harp tunes that apparently accompanied it. Ridland gives the poem a long, loose line that sings in the lyrical passages, creeps in the spooky ones, and cavorts in the comic ones. Just as important, the densely mythic ethos, fully intact, enriches every word.
Panoramas of banqueting and hunting, closely observed rituals of dressing, arming, and game preparation, and rich descriptions of landscape and weather—Ridland’s translation presents these in all their delightful, over-the-top particularity.
—Maryann Corbett (from the foreword)
The language in which the consummate poet and translator John Ridland serves up this delicious story in verse is exactly what it deserves. The descriptions are exuberant, the narrative flows and exhilarates like the wine at the courts we’re asked to imagine, and the exchanges between complex characters so subtly flavored by intelligent diplomacy that it makes the dialogue of much current fiction seem, by contrast, like a six-pack on the front stoop. Read this book. I suspect that, like all enchantments, it shifts and assumes different forms to different eyes. But I do guarantee surprises, and inexhaustible delight.
—Rhina P. Espaillat
John Ridland, PhD, taught English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for forty-three years. His publications include A Brahms Card Ballad, first published in Hungarian translation, Happy in an Ordinary Thing,and a book-length translation of Petöfi’s John the Valiant. With Dr. Peter Czipott, Dr. Ridland has translated several other Hungarian poets, including Sándor Márai’s The Withering World (Alma Classics, 2013) and Miklos Rádnoti’s All That Still Matters at All (New American Press, 2014). In 2014 Askew Publications issued his epic poem, A. Lincolniad.
RIDMARK ARBAN was once a Swordbearer, a knight of renown. Now he is a branded outcast, stripped of his sword, and despised as a traitor.
But he alone sees the danger to come, and undertakes the dangerous quest to stop the return of the Frostborn.
And Ridmark must risk everything to retrieve it.
MARA wishes only to live peacefully. Yet her father was a dark elven wizard of power, and his shadow-tainted blood flows through her veins, threatening to transform her into a monster.
Yet that is not the greatest danger she faces.
For the Iron Tower was once home to an ancient evil, an evil that desires to claim the power in her blood...
RIDMARK ARBAN is the Gray Knight, outcast and exiled from the High King's realm. Yet he alone sees the danger of the terrible Frostborn, the creatures that will sheathe the world in ice and quench all life.
But none of the lords of the realm believe his warnings.
And his enemies want him dead...and the secret allies of the Frostborn wish to silence him forever.
As old foes and new enemies close around him, Ridmark must fight for his life.
Or else the Frostborn will return, bringing eternal ice and darkness with them.
At last he knows how the Frostborn shall return. A weapon of great magical power waits in a ruined dwarven city, a weapon with the power to stop the return of the Frostborn.
Assuming the ruined city's guardians do not kill Ridmark first...