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28 April, 2013

Haught on Armitage, The Death of King Arthur


Simon Armitage, trans. The Death of King Arthur. New York: Norton, 2012.

 Reviewed by Leah Haught (leah.haught@lmc.gatech.edu)

Originally released as a hardcover edition in December 2011, Norton’s December 2012 publication of Simon Armitage’s verse translation of the Alliterative Morte Arthure (The Death of King Arthur) as a paperback will undoubtedly cause this edition of the poem, which aims to make the late fourteenth or early fifteenth-century poem accessible to modern audiences “in unflinching and gory detail,” to be more broadly circulated among scholars and poetry aficionados alike [1]. Presented as a facing-page translation alongside Larry D. Benson’s 1974 transcription of the Middle English text, Armitage’s rendition is a handsome addition to the relatively short list of texts that place their translations of the Alliterative Morte in continuous dialogue with the language and style of the original poem. Of equal if not more interest for scholars of medievalism, the edition also sheds light on the processes through which modern poets engage with and represent the medieval past in their work. READ FULL REVIEW HERE.