koralleen (koralleen) wrote,

SRP: The Death of King Arthur, A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage

Don't tell me you aren't intrigued by the thought of a modern alliterative verse story! This book is set up exactly right, with the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure printed alongside the new text, line by line. I think the translation suffers a little from the effort of preserving the alliteration that defined Germanic poetry of the time. I'd rather preserve the flow of the narrative than get hung up on a weird word that's simply providing a voiceless velar plosive in the right place, like this:

(405) I account no king that under Crist lives; becomes No king under Christ will I fear or kowtow to
Doesn't that jar you? That's our man Arthur talking! You can just bet he's not kowtowing. I think that was the worst incident, but there were a few places where clumsy language detracted from the experience. Other than that, it's a gory tale of bravery, loyalty, deceit, and sorrow.

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