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The Mabinogion by Anonymous

The Mabinogion

by Anonymous

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,257351,696 (3.9)84
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    CGlanovsky: A culturally important piece of medieval lit. consisting of mythological/historical incidents involving warriors.

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
This translation was pretty painful to get through. There were several instances of tense shifting within the same sentence, all throughout the book. The entire thing seemed kind of sloppy. ( )
  woolgathering | Apr 4, 2017 |
This book is the standard for early mideval Welsh mythology and pre-Malory Arthurian myth. The gods are there, but the heroes do much of the work. I've just finished the story of Culhwch and Olwen, and in order for our hero to marry Olwen, the daughter of Ysbadadden the Chief Giant, he must undertake a number of tasks that would make Odysseus himself swoon. His tasks involve bringing a cauldron that the owner does not want to surrender, finding a comb and shears between the ears of Twrch Trwyth and his piglets (and I'm not sure if Twrch Trwyth is himself a giant boar or a human giant. Either interpretation works), and there is much chasing over the lands of the Isle of Britain, France, Normandy, Brittany, and Ireland. There is mention of Arthur's loyal hound, Cafall, often a missing character in later Athurian romances. The translation is made with lots of thee's" and "so forth's" which can make the reading laborious. On the other hand, it gives a good historical view of the nobles and famous folk whom history has otherwise forgotten. Well worth reading, especially for scholars of early European history and myth." ( )
2 vote threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Jones & Jones highlight the distinctly differing styles of the anonymous manuscript writers, ranging from gritty tales where heroes die often and horribly, to courtly romances where to be a hero is to be invulnerable. I mostly enjoyed this book: there’s some really terrific tale telling. Just skip the pages where one anonymous was having all too much fun with this writing things down idea, naming every single person in Arthur's court... There are so many borrowings and adaptations of this Welsh cultural masterpiece in contemporary writing that it was all eerily half familiar. But definitely worth going back to the source. ( )
  Bernadette877 | Apr 7, 2015 |
This is a set of tales translated from the original Welsh. They were collected together in the 1350s, although some of them probably have much older origins. They are from an oral tradition that was dying out, cultural changes meant that the old Welsh mode of living was being diminished. And you can see that within these stories, there are mounted knights and jousts - surely not a part of ancient Celtic life. There are some startling images, the sheep that change colour from black to white and back again as the cross the stream, the tree that is half burning flame and half in leaf, the colourful knights and messengers. It is captivating. It doesn't always, strictly, make sense. But there is something about them that captures the imagination. In the same vein as Beowulf, and again reflecting that transition from oral to written history, you could view this as being part of the touchstone of being Welsh. ( )
  Helenliz | Oct 30, 2014 |
Reviewing the edition translated by Jeffrey Gantz and published by Penguin Classics: I found this to be a surprisingly readable and entertaining rendition of these tales. I enjoyed the first four tales (the actual "Branches of the Mabinogi") the most, but several of the other tales (particularly "Owein" and "Gereint and Enid") were also good. Gantz's Introduction and short introductions to each tale are brief, but do help the average reader to understand a bit more about the background and context of the stories without getting bogged down in too much analysis. This is not a scholarly edition, but I think it is a decent introduction to the Mabinogion for the general reader who is not an expert in Welsh literature and who merely wants to appreciate these tales as stories. ( )
2 vote Heather39 | Sep 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionscalculated
Braby, DorotheaEngraversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, SionedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freeman, JoanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gantz, JeffreyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gantz, JeffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guest, Lady CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loth, JosephTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norris, LeslieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, JeffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Brothers transformed into animals of both sexes who bring forth children; dead men thrown into a cauldron who rise the next day; a woman created out of flowers, transformed into an owl for infidelity; a king turned into a wild boar for his sins - these are just some of the magical stories that together make up the Mabinogi.
INTRODUCTION (to the Jones/Jones translation)
The eleven prose tales upon which the title 'Mabinogion' has been at once happily and arbitrarily bestowed are among the finest flowerings of the Celtic genius and, taken together, a masterpiece of our medieval European literature.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Please do note combine  incomplete works, such as The Mabinogion (Phoenix 60p paperbacks), which contains only two tales.

There are two "Alan Lee" Mabinogions.
The original, which used the Everyman text, translated by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones, was published by Dragon's Dream.
The second, which used Lady Charlotte Guest's translation, was published by Voyager/HarperCollins. See also LT entry for the Mabinogion by Lady Charlotte Guest.
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Book description
Based on mss. known as The White Book of Rhydderch (ca. 1350) and The Red Book of Hergest (ca. 1382 - 1410)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140443223, Paperback)

Drawing on myth, folklore and history, the stories of the "Mabinogion" passed from generations of storytellers before they were written down in the thirteenth century in the form we know. Set in dual realms of the forests and valleys of Wales and the shadowy otherworld, the tales are permeated by a dreamlike atmosphere. In "Math Son of Mathonwy" two brothers plot to carry off the virginal Goewin, while in "Manawydan Son of Llyr" a chieftain roams throughout Britain after a spell is cast over his land. And King Arthur's court provides the backdrop to tales such as "How Culhwch Won Olwen", in which a young man must complete many tasks before he can marry a giant's daughter.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:57 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The 11 tales of the 'Mabinogion' combine Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance. This new translation recreates the storytelling world of medieval Wales and re-invests the tales with the power of performance.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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