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Mabinogion Author

Autor(a) de The Mabinogion

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Mabinogion Author
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Wales, UK



Reading/listening to this book at one go is like eating too much cotton candy. As anyone who has read ancient literature can tell you, there are tropes within them that are the legacy of an oral tradition behind the tales. I find these tropes to be extremely tiresome when taken in large quantity over a short time. And in The Mabinogion, this is made even harder to get through due to Superlatives Overload. Every woman is "the fairest ever seen", every castle or suit of armor or your-noun-here is the best that ever was.
It probably does not help that I chose a very old translation. But the audiobook narrator is a native Welsh speaker, and I wanted his delivery of the many (many!) names within the book. He is the reason I give this 3 stars. Otherwise, it would languish with a 2-star rating.
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Treebeard_404 | 45 outras críticas | Jan 23, 2024 |
A collection of eleven “stories” from early medieval Wales. Some long, some short, all showing their origins as oral tales. No matter your taste, it’s all here: witches, heroes, maidens, giants, kings, dragons, and an utterly extraordinary magical boar. There are quests and more quests: romance, honor, war, revenge, and, oh, love too. I found the tales a bit more uneven than I expected, but it is not surprising, I think, when you learn the "collection" is a modern accident. Brilliant translation (Sioned Davies) with extraordinarily detailed (often overdetailed) notes.… (mais)
Gypsy_Boy | 45 outras críticas | Aug 25, 2023 |
Something of a mixed bag.

The first branch of the Mabinogi is a masterpiece. It really is world-class literature. Knarled and ancient. The kind of world where you can can stroll into a clearing and find yourself in another land. The other three branches have great elements in them but they aren’t quite pulled together into proper stories. I did wonder if the author had suffered a stroke.

Some of the other stories (all of which are by different authors) suffer from the same problem. I wonder if what we’re looking at are some sort of aide memoir for storytellers and bards. They’re certainly not a pleasure to read in their current forms. But not all the stories are like that. It’s well worth reading because there are a couple of gems.

The other point of interest are five early Arthurian stories. Two of these seem to be entirely Welsh and the other three are adaptations of Chétien de Troyes’ romances Erec and Enid, Yvain and Perceval, though Perceval also seems to have quite a bit of Welsh material. It’s particularly interesting to read them back to back with their progenitors.
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Lukerik | 45 outras críticas | Nov 23, 2022 |
The Penguin edition's introduction goes to enormous pains to tell me that the contents of the Mabinogian today probably do not reflect the original versions. They are only the oldest capturing we have of legends which were told orally for as many as several centuries prior. Further, we do not know exactly when this recording took place. Nor can we say for certain that it does not bear a heavy French influence which colors the lost originals. Nor is there much evidence that these stories held much influence over the development of Welsh culture. By the time I'd finished this detailed and inspiring intro, I almost reconsidered reading it at all.

Happily the Welsh legends of the Mabinogian have several memorable bits, loaded with mythological elements, curious reasoning and fantastic events. It has the usual conflicts and cruel acts of violence encountered in most peoples' mythologies, but there's also some humour laced into it that I thought was more unusual. The most fantastical elements are met by the characters with forthright aplomb. This seems like a characteristic of most people of legend but here it's perhaps especially worth noting. As the (otherwise unhelpful) introduction notes, it's a recurring theme to see the fantastical and the real intertwined, and to see a crossing between the two come as naturally as fording a stream. I find Greek and Norse mythology more engaging and this is not all casual reading, but enough of it is entertaining.
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2 vote
Cecrow | 45 outras críticas | Aug 17, 2021 |



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Associated Authors

Jeffrey Gantz Translator, Introduction
John Updike Foreword
Gwyn Jones Translator
Alan Lee Illustrator
Thomas Jones Translator
Sioned Davies Translator
Joan Freeman Illustrator
Leslie Norris Introduction
Jeff Thomas Cover artist
Joseph Loth Translator
Mairead Jones Translator



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