The Green Knight

February 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment


Illustration from the manuscript of the fourteenth-century poem. Sourced here. I love this manuscript, and have seen it with my very eyes!

Iris Murdoch. I finished this a couple of weeks back. It was my read-on-the-plane/bus/train book as I came back from Norway, and I was hooked straight away. On the cover it says it’s a romance, and it reminds me a bit of Possession in this way (one of my all-time favourite books). Lots of characters and colour and mystery and happy endings. I’ve been meaning to read this for absolutely ages because I adore Gawain and the Green Knight, and this is obviously some kind of variation on the story.

I thought the way she alluded to the story was mysterious and convincing – she doesn’t present an exact allegory, but rather captures some of the horror and strangeness and vitality of the original. There were a lot of characters and it was completely charming, in a very English penniless upper middle class sort of way. And that’s all my brain can manage I’m afraid! I liked it so much that as soon as I finished it I bought a copy of Murdoch’s The Black Prince. I chose this one because of the medieval connotations of the title. I’ve nearly finished it – it’s not as light and playful but rather clever all the same… I’m not enjoying it as much, though I do admire it, and have a feeling that something spectacular might happen at the end. If any Murdoch fans chance upon here, any recommendations?

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Entry filed under: Iris Murdoch, medieval.

Beowulf The Black Prince

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