I’ll present a live reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight on July 24, 2021, which is a Saturday. It will start at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST. You’ll find a link on this page at that time; you can also hop over to YouTube and subscribe, which will make a little alert pop up on your computer when I go live.
For four years running, I’ve presented a live reading of Gawain around Christmastime, and will continue to do so every year until I’m dead. This special summer presentation is offered in commemoration of, and preparation for, the new film adaptation set to be released on July 30, which looks terrific.
I will confess to feeling a bit “protective” of the source material, which is totally absurd, given that I only encountered this story because it is beloved and ubiquitous. Nevertheless! I am looking forward to seeing the new movie with the poem’s language shimmering in my mind; in fact, I think this will be the coolest possible way to see it; and, I want to make it possible for more people.
Of course, you could read Simon Armitage’s miraculous translation yourself—I recommend it—but, as any Gawain fan knows, a huge part of the fun is the rollicking rhythm of the poem’s alliteration voiced aloud, the non-stop tongue-twister-ness of it.
So, I am going to read it to you, just this once, in the harsh light of summer.
How long will this reading take?
A few hours, with breaks.
Are you just trying to “draft off” the movie’s marketing momentum to drum up interest in a beautiful work of translation, the deep pleasure of its language?
Will this reading be kid-friendly?
I’ve heard reports that the poem’s opening scene is a bit too creepy for young children. After that, it’s smooth sailing, so I’ll leave it to your judgment: a strange green giant is beheaded, and the results are described in, uh, some detail.
Will there be a recording?
No. The reason I’m able to get permission to do these readings is that they are ephemeral, and thus do not compete with the official audiobooks.
Who drew the illustration above?
That’s the work of Ryan V. Lower, of course!
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