The magnificent heritage of English poetry before Chaucer is often neglected because of difficulties with unfamiliar dialect. These translations reveal what we are missing if we ignore it. Piers Plowman belongs to the tradition of medieval allegory, but without any of the stuffiness that label suggests. It paints a vivid picture of everyday life in the 14th century with a vigour and detail which anticipates The Canterbury Tales. However, the jewel in the crown of Middle English verse is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, here presented in the classic version by JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings (currently being filmed). A wonderfully told story which combines suspense, fantasy, exquisite domestic detail and sensuality.