What does that mean for you? Well, you'll probably be reading the poem translated into modern English. Heck, even if you got the hang of Chaucer's London dialect of Middle English when reading The Canterbury Tales , that doesn't mean you'll be able to read the English of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight . Bummer. But don't feel bad. Lots of people who study this stuff for a living can’t make it through the poem without their facing-page translations. And it's still worth checking out Sir Gawain in its original form; it's fun to try to puzzle out the words. Hey, maybe you'll eventually become a master of the language and write your own translation, kind of like . Tolkien (of Lord of the Rings fame).
By framing the central plot of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with an account of Britain’s founding by the Trojan Brutus, the poet establishes Camelot’s political legitimacy. He also links his own story with classical epics such as Virgil’s Aeneid, thereby creating a literary connection to the ancient world. In the second stanza, the poet claims that he heard the original story of Sir Gawain recited “in hall” ( 31 ), but also that it was “linked in measures meetly / By letters tried and true” (that is, it appeared in written format) ( 35 – 36 ). Iin addition to giving his poem both political and literary roots, the poet gives his poem both an oral and a written history, all in two brief stanzas.
The original Grail Knight. The legend of Perceval began with Chretien de Troyes' medieval romance, titled Conte du Graal ("Story of the Grail"), which is also sometimes titled Perceval , written around 1180. People were fascinated of both the hero Perceval and the mysterious object known as the Grail. Since Chretien had died before ever completing this work, some contemporary and later authors tried to complete his tale or rewrite their own versions of Perceval. Since Chretien's death, many offshoots about Perceval and the Grail were written about it.