MTA Publications


‘The Knight in the Panther Skin’
by Shota Rustaveli

Translated by Lyn Coffin


See inside: page 66
See inside: page 196
See inside: illustration

Book price: £20.00

‘The Knight in the Panther Skin’ was written by Shota Rustaveli in the 12th century and is a literary masterpiece on par with Iliad and Odyssey. This epic poem has accompanied the Georgian nation ever since and has helped codify its behaviour. Citizens learnt it by heart and taught their children, brides were given the book as part of their dowry.

Readers interested in medieval literature and philosophy will be intrigued by the 1500 plus verse poem that depicts brave knights and princesses, adventures on sea and land, magical creatures and a code of chivalry that underlies the Georgian national character. There have been many English translations, the first by Marjory Wardrop in 1912. This latest and most up to date version by Lyn Coffin, has been made with the help of prominent Georgian scholars. It combines the beauty of poetic imagery with quick wit and academic precision, and is the first to make use of the same 16-quadrant shairi form, as employed by the author himself.

360 pp / Paperback / 16 cm x 22 cm

12 full page b/w illustrations

ISBN 9789941850622

Distributed by Central Books

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‘Lynn Coffin’s translation shows superb technical mastery of the elaborate shairi form used by Shota Rustaveli in his 12th century epic, Knight in A Panther Skin. Coffin is faithful to both meter and rhyme, yet does not lose the beauty of Rustaveli’s poetry. Most previous English translators such as Katherine Vivian or R.H. Stevenson, favored free verse, but Coffin has preserved the structure as well as the splendor of Rustaveli’s great adventure story. Coffin is both a meticulous wordsmith and a passionate artist who has combined both these talents to produce one of the most accurate and readable translations into English of Rustaveli’s epic over the last forty years.’

Stephen Jones

Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies, Mount Holyoke College