John Ridland’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight made that fourteenth-century chivalric romance not only accessible but alive to our twenty-first century sensibilities. Now his translation Pearl, also by the anonymous Gawain Poet, does the same for that poignant dream vision. The poem’s formal complexities are still here, mutatis mutandis, but they enhance rather than obscure the story of a grieving father’s dream vision of his lost daughter in paradise. Six hundred years vanish, and the reader feels an intimate, profound emotional connection with the universal human experiences of loss, grief, and hope.
— Richard Wakefield, author of A Vertical Mile
An attractively readable translation, which makes a real attempt to convey the metrical beauty and intricacy of the original.
— Ad Putter and Myra Stokes, editors of The Works of the Gawain Poet
After reading John Ridland’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight some time ago, I thought, “Well, he’s done it now: doomed himself to never achieving anything as remarkable as this again, because it’s impossible.”
But I was wrong: his new translation of Pearl—an even more challenging work by the same anonymous fourteenth-century Gawain Poet—is equally musical and moves with the same charmed pace in the telling that is perfect for what is being told.
— Rhina P. Espaillat, author of Her Place in These Designs
John Ridland’s translation offers us, in accessible, contemporary English, all the dazzling complexity and beauty of Pearl’s structures, rhythms, and rhymes.
— Maryann Corbett, winner, Willis Barnstone Translation Prize; author of Street View