As we approach 11th February, after which no more pledgers' names can be entered in the back of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I wanted to take a brief moment to write to you to thank you for pledging and making this book a reality. I could not have achieved this without the kind and generous support of each and every supporter, each and every patron.
So what is there to look forward to? I was delighted this week to receive a digital mock up of the book, which is shown below. This gives you a flavour of what the wonderful folk at Unbound have done to make this edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight something really special and, I hope, rewards all your faith in this project.
Over the last few months in these updates, I have tried to show you how I have approached this book. Firstly of course, I have concentrated on the translation itself. Here, my focus has been on replicating the style of the orginal, as well as the metre. I have not tried to present the work as a new work of poetry, I have attempted instead to follow in the way of the Gawain-poet himself, employing throughout his broad vocabulary, his linguistic flow and also his wonderful way of working with tense. This is all in the aim of recreating a story that would have excited a mediaeval audience - but made fresh to do the same today: a mediaeval feel but engaging and relevant to the modern reader.
What I have also tried to do though is to write what I call an interpretive translation. I have tried to uncover what the Gawain-poet meant to say, and what his influences were. So, in the form of an introduction, notes, and supportive information, I have given readers a wider insight into the poet and his times. I've drawn on my research and knowledge of the fourteenth century; my lifetime's interest in mediaeval architecture and landscapes; and a deep fascination with mediaeval behaviour, style and mythology.
Not forgetting, of course, all the linocut images I have produced for this work and which are based on extensive research - and took many, many, many hours to cut, and then print, all by hand (some of which are still available, until the 11th Feb, as unique pledge options).
I hope, when the book arrives safely in your hands, that it will inspire you to find out more about the Gawain-poet, his period and even to explore the wonderful language which is known as Middle English (in its various differing dialects).
Who can ask for more than the wonderful support you have given me in making this new edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight possible? If the Gawain-poet were alive today and could see that even now his candle burns, I wonder what he would think?
From a man born on the Lancashire/Cheshire border, in the depths of Gawain country, I offer you all my warmest regards and heartfelt thanks for your support.
P.S. Time is running out but if you know of others who would like a copy - and have their name in the back - please do ask them to pledge before midnight on 11th February. They can still pledge after that date but they won't be able to have their name in the back. Only the patrons have that honour!
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