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Celtic Heritage by Alwyn Rees
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Celtic Heritage (1961)

by Alwyn Rees, Brinley Rees (Author)

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In terms of its usefulness to the study of Irish and Welsh mythology, folklore and ancient culture, this book is comparable to The Golden Bough's usefulness to the study of mythology and magic in general.

Although archaeology has supplied us with much more information than was available in the 1960s, Rees and Rees did an impressive job of analysing the information they did have and making conclusions based upon the scholarship of the time. ( )
  simondyda | Oct 11, 2013 |
Surprisingly, a real page-turner for most of its length. At times a given topic is delved into at more length than the average reader might want but then the pace picks up again and never is the effort wasted. Very important book for clarifying the sources and themes of Irish and Welsh mytholology. ( )
1 vote thesmellofbooks | May 14, 2012 |
This contains three parts - "The Tradition"; "The World of Meaning" and "The Meaning of Story". In the first part the authors look at the various story cycles in Celtic mythology; in the second certain themes are covered and in the third various stories are linked by theme.

As the stories only survive in oral tradition or as written by medieval monks a lot has been lost or given a Christian slant. The Reeses have connected certain themes back to Indo-European sources and show the similarities to stories told in India and elsewhere in the world.

This is not the book for you if you are just looking for the stories but if you are interested in how stories survive and adapt this is a very interesting and readable book. ( )
6 vote calm | Nov 30, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alwyn Reesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rees, BrinleyAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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In a certain parish in Galway there are more good storytellers than are to be found anywhere else in Western Europe.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In this widely acclaimed study, Alwyn and Brinley Rees reinterpret Celtic tradition in the light of advances made in the comparative study of religion, mythology and anthropology. Part One considers the distinguishing features of the various Cycles of tales and the personages who figure most prominently in them. Part Two reveals the cosmological framework within which the action of the tales takes place. Part Three consists of a discussion of the themes of certain classes of stories which tell of Conceptions and Births, Supernatural Adventures, Courtships and Marriages, Violent Deaths and Voyages to the Other World, and an attempt is made to understand their religious function and to glimpse their transcendent being. (back cover blurb)
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