This edition presents, for the first time, the entire oeuvre of the Pearl poet with both the original Middle English works and complete verse translations. Poet and scholar Casey Finch uses anapestic tetrameters (and iambic tetrameter for Pearl) in his translations rather than the accented tetrameters of the originals, thus achieving the rhythmic regularity the poems would have displayed when performed to music, as they surely were meant to be. Finch's translations are printed facing the best modern editions of the poems, those of Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron and of Clifford Peterson.
The late Casey Finch taught in the Department of English at New York University. He was the author of two books of poetry, The Forbidden Book (1981) and Harming Others (1992), and several scholarly articles on literary topics.
"Finch's translations will add much to the pleasure and value of teaching and learning late medieval English history."—Robert Brentano, author of Two Churches
"Casey Finch has found an idiom in which these poems can speak Modern English, and in doing so can convey the most elusive and complex effects of the originals. . . . He has conveyed the vitality of these poems in a verse that is as assured, gracious, blunt, urgent, plangent, rich, and perpetually surprising as that of the unknown poet or poets who made them. These brilliant poems have at last found a craftsman who understands the secrets of their intricate luminosity, a faithful steward of a distinctive verbal treasure of the language. In this translation these poems shine as brightly and clearly as they did when newly made, pearls without peer in English."—Anne Middleton, University of California, Berkeley