THE CHALLENGE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT by Ian Serraillier
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THE CHALLENGE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Again Gawain. Earlier (420, J-152) we reviewed Constance Hieatt's prose retelling of the medieval poem, found it a faithful, suspenseful introduction for younger children; Ian Serraillier tells it in verse adapted from the only existing manuscript, shortened, and (his evaluation) with a more concentrated style and faster pace. This is one adaptation that works: the reader is caught up immediately in the revelry of the Round Table, looks aghast at the appearance of the green giant, is intrigued by the counterpoint of the lord chasing his prey across fields and in forests whilst his lady beguiles Gawain in bed, waits still and silent with Gawain for the blow of an uplifted axe--and smiles a little for the shame that ""would not be comforted."" The verse alters with the pace of the plot, achieves a free-swinging rhythm and never impedes the reader's interest. A masterpiece that deserves the designation in a version that you can suggest confidently to older readers with an empathy for authentic medieval legendry.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1967
Publisher: Walck