The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is perhaps the most authentically English of all the King Arthur tales. Most of the Arthurian mythos was largely a largely French creation, when the Norman conquerors discovered a few old Celtic legends about Arthur and wove them into a dynamic myth of chivalric idealism. The story of Sir Gawain is regarded by most scholars as a much purer version of those Celtic stories, as well as a much more nuanced synthesis of Celtic cultural heritage with Christian ideals. J.R.R. Tolkien was fond of citing it as one of his very favorite stories and deepest influences.
Raffel's translation is sure to endear itself to any fan of fantasy, medieval literature, or the King Arthur stories. It flows with the simple beauty of a dream, and the purity of heart of Gawain himself. Do yourself a favor and spend an hour or two reading this.