Cover image for The death of King Arthur : a new verse translation
Title:
The death of King Arthur : a new verse translation
Uniform Title:
Morte Arthure. English & English (Middle English)
ISBN:
9780792784661
Edition:
Unabridged.
Publication Information:
North Kingstown, RI : AudioGO, p2012.
Physical Description:
9 sound discs (10 hr., 20 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.
Summary:
First appearing around 1400, The Alliterative Morte Arthur, or The Death of King Arthur, is one of the most widely beloved and spectacularly alliterative poems ever penned in Middle English. Now, from the internationally acclaimed translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, comes this magisterial new presentation of the Arthurian tale, rendered in unflinching and gory detail.
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Summary

Summary

First appearing around 1400, The Alliterative Morte Arthur , or The Death of King Arthur , is one of the most widely beloved and spectacularly alliterative poems ever penned in Middle English. Now, from the internationally acclaimed translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , comes this magisterial new presentation of the Arthurian tale, rendered in unflinching and gory detail. Following Arthur's bloody conquests across the cities and fields of Europe, all the way to his spectacular and even bloodier fall, this masterpiece features some of the most spellbinding and poignant passages in English poetry. Never before have the deaths of Arthur's loyal knights, his own final hours, and the subsequent burial been so poignantly evoked.

Echoing the lyrical passion that so distinguished Seamus Heaney's Beowulf , Simon Armitage has produced a virtuosic new translation that promises to become both the literary event of the year and the definitive edition for generations to come.


Reviews 2

Guardian Review

Armitage has already translated one of the great pre-Renaissance English poems, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007). This work, shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize, is a translation of the anonymous early 15th-century epic Alliterative Morte Arthure (not to be confused with Malory's prose Le Morte d'Arthur). Armitage handles the alliterative verse with great energy and verve, attaining the momentum of a siege-tower falling off a cliff, and relishing the opportunity for comic boastfulness and gluttonous, bloodthirsty comedy. Before setting out for Rome, Arthur tackles the cannibal monster of Mont Saint-Michel, who "was bulky as a sea-pig with a brawny body, / and each quivering lump of those loathsome lips / writhed and rolled with the wrath of a wolf's head". With a generation of children raised on Horrible Histories, Armitage's version might do for alliteration what Eliot's Practical Cats once did for rhythm. So while imaginatively The Death of King Arthur isn't a patch on Gawain, it certainly rips and roars and ravishes. - Sean O'Brien Armitage has already translated one of the great pre-Renaissance English poems, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007). This work, shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize, is a translation of the anonymous early 15th-century epic Alliterative Morte Arthure (not to be confused with Malory's prose Le Morte d'Arthur). - Sean O'Brien.


Library Journal Review

Award-winning British poet Armitage follows his celebrated 2007 translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with this muscular, clanging rendering of the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure. The original poem appears on facing pages and presents readers with a miscellany of linguistic loose ends, some lines requiring very little translation and others remaining lost in the Middle English word horde. Armitage's translation preserves the robust alliteration of the original and utilizes the repeated blows of letter sounds to evoke the din of battle as well as to propel the poem to its ferocious and tragic end. Here, Arthur is an ambivalent figure, sure of God's grace yet troubled by dreams that bind the fate of all Britons to his conflict with Sir Lucius, the Roman emperor whose ambition and arrogance mirror Arthur's. VERDICT Armitage's version of the Alliterative Morte Arthure strengthens Norton's catalog of new translations of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts. It is also a remarkable instance of Armitage's own unique poetic strengths, especially his ear for lyrical economy and gift for sensual, tactile description.-J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.