[Just to be clear. This is not a comic or graphic novel. Its literally poetry.]
We failed with the last Kickstarter, SO;
What are we doing differently this time?
We are asking for a lot less money.
I have reduced the number of books to the minimal print, taken postage out of the pledge, which cuts a lot off, and taken out any profit for the principals on the books printed for pledges, so essentially we don't make any money on the Kickstarter itself but just make enough to print the book.
You will still end up paying for postage, in this case I will send all the backers a code and they can go here http://falseparcels.bigcartel.com/product/gawain-and-the-green-knight to the Big Cartel store, the code should reduce the price to zero and you can pay postage separately for each nation.
(If you want postage for a particular nation that isn't shown, let me know and I will put it in. From the UK things are usually internal UK, Europe, World Zone One, which includes the U.S. and World Zone Two, which is a handful of far-away places.)
Since postage will be taken off, even if everyone who pledged previously pledges here again, the total amount will be lower, so its not a guarantee that we will hit the total.
But, we will get a LOT closer, and the difference between the initial pledges and the final total will be a lot narrower. For the first one it was pretty obvious we weren't going to make it from the start, which I suspect depressed interest. For this one, its going to look like a real possibility and have the goal within realistic reach for all of October, which I hope will increase interest?
Anyway! Here is the copy from the previous Kickstarter! Which you have probably already read!
Every couple of years I get depressed and dive back into the Chivalric literature of the Renaissance and Early Modern period. In the Winter of 2016 I started reading through, and producing a version of, the poem 'Gawain and the Green Knight'
(It's not really a true translation. I stood a lot on Dr W.R.J Barrons facing translation and used that to do my own version. And I am very sorry to the memory of Dr Barron for the havoc I have wrought on the poem.)
The idea of doing a book, as in a proper, printed book, of my "translation", including illustrations, has been going for a long long time. As usual with OSR-adjacent stuff, you can get two out of quick, cheap and good, so we tried to go for the latter two qualities.
Gawain is a strange story. Its a chivalric adventure story with almost no fighting or running about, and where the key moral challenge is about having the courage to submit yourself to an immediate, brutal and violent death without resistance, based purely on a point of honour.
And the hero fails.
Why on earth do I like this poem so much?
Gawain and the Wirral
It pleased me a great deal, and still does, that Gawain passes through the Wirral on his journey. Even in a land as densely-historied as the U.K., its pretty rare for the place I grew up in to be mentioned in myth and legend. It is a land to which few go and which is not on the path between anywhere or anywhen. Except apparently the path between Camelot and the Green Chapel for a knight lost in midwinter and slowly freezing to death.
Gawain in Silent Titans
They are, if not part of the same "expanded universe", then at least paired texts. They spring from the same root and were conceived and conceptualised at roughly the same time. The Wirral Gawain goes through on his way to the Green Chapel is meant to be the same Wirral which the PCs encounter in a later age of the world as Silent Titans opens.
My Dumb Translation
My translation, or not-quite translation is almost deliberately phonetically dumb. I tried to keep word shapes and sounds as close as I could to the original, so long as a roughly equivalent meaning could be found. I think this might be quite different to most academic translations, there people seem to agonise over the most precise and exact translation of the meaning of a word or phrase, regardless of how the sound-shape is distorted or expanded. That makes sense I suppose if you are translating something for the first time or trying to educate students about it, but it is a strange path to take outside those purposes.
Poetry, especially older poetry, is made of structure, sound-shape, the exact timing and placement of a syllable or the weighting of a word. That's essentially what it is to me, a flow of sound and meaning, totally integrated.
So I trusted to the line over the word, assuming that the overarching impetus and meaning of the poem was best carried by the flow of sound, that to distort *that* would be a much darker crime than faffing about with a singular word.
And I trusted to my impulse and had no real problem with the ridiculous or the modern.
If you want to hear what that sounds like, I read the whole thing out here.
The past gets a vote, but the present also gets a vote. Every modern translation is a lie, and has modern feelings and pseudo-ancient modern references tied up in its (necessary) illusion of sacred age. Mine is just a little more obvious with it and a little more uncaring of maintaining that illusion. (Or really just being a little bit of an edgy tit about pointing out that it is an illusion.)
All anyone is going to talk about is how there are swears in this version. I feel very slightly bad about at least one of them. Gawains courtesy is a deeply integral part of his character and social role in the poem, he really shouldn't be swearing. I think the only point where he does is right at the end where he is, not unreasonably, quite upset with the Green Knight.
My Weird Views on Gawain
Look its very clearly based around a creepy sex game and has some gay themes and absolutely no-one ever mentions this and I have no idea why.
In the 'In Our Time - Gawain and the Green Knight' podcast (which I found to be excellent), they verge very slightly towards bringing it up until Melvyn Bragg harumphs and the issue is quickly discarded.
I have no idea why I am nearly the only person who talks about this, it doesn't even seem very provocative or edgy, at least compared to modern critical thinking. I can't tell if I am the only sane man in an insane world or if this is just one of those aspergers moments where everyone else is clearly getting a social signal which I am deaf to.
Well, good news for you I guess as my blog review of the poem where I go into exactly this issue is also included in the book.
And not only this, but (as stated above) I ACTUALLY READ THE WHOLE THING OUT LOUD ONLINE
Risks and challenges
I'm meant to "be honest about the potential risks and challenges", sooo here we go.
- Organisation and accounting aren't exactly my strong point. The Kickstarter as a whole is arranged to be as simple as possible.
- Brexit. I have no idea what is going to happen with this. It might push up (or down?) the cost of materials, printing and postage. Most of you are in the U.S. or worldwide so postage *shouldn't* change much for you, for those of you in the E.U. it might.
- Printer trouble? This is my first time doing this so I have no idea. Its a local company though so should probably be fine? And there are other options available as replacement if they fall through.
- The main risk is that its a Kickstarter for a book of illustrated poetry, for quite a high value, so there is a real possibility it won't make it. Its already failed once. Of course, if it doesn't then you lose nothing.
- Text, illustrations and layout are all done.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)