The Mabinogian
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The Mabinogian

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,558 ratings  ·  196 reviews
The stories of the Mabinogion appear in two Medieval Welsh manuscripts, the White book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch) written about 1350, and the Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest) written about 1382. Although fragments of these tales have been preserved in earlier thirteenth-century manuscripts, scholars agree that the tales are much older. The tales have had a...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1410)
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Mary Jones
I'm splitting the difference between my love of the medieval collection (i.e. Y Mabinogi and other Welsh tales) and Lady Charlotte Guest's sometimes-bowdlerized, romanticized, nineteenth-century (and I mean that in the worst possible way) translation (which would garner at best two stars, because I'm feeling generous). The real advantage of this book is if you're interested in the history of how the Mabinogion has been treated in the English language; otherwise, you should decide if you want

a.)...more
Beth
I'm reading the Mabinogion after a childhood spent reading books that were based on these Welsh myths: The Chronicles of Prydain, The Dark is Rising, The Owl Service... I recall that those retellings/recyclings were a bit more user-friendly, but what I love about mythology is the concentrated nature of it. These are oral traditions boiled down to their essence--the versions finally set to paper are meant to communicate what was really important to someone nearly 1000 years ago, from stories that...more
Nikki
Supervisor wanted me to use a different translation to my old one (the Everyman 1993 edition). So I had to get this one. It's supposed to be more accurate -- I don't know about that, but it does seem a bit more immediate and colourful than the old Everyman edition. The little I know suggests it is a good translation, and it's certainly readable, and has a full complement of explanatory notes, introduction, etc, which is more than I can say for the Everyman edition. Slightly odd order of tales, n...more
Cynthia
This is a group of 12 Welsh legends that feature King Arthur along with other kings. They are stories passed down orally and have mnemonic devices imbedded in them to aide in the telling so they sometimes sound odd to our modern ears. There is so much here that appears in current day literature. There are magical creatures and wells and rocks and carpets, shape shifting, giants, fierce warriors, fair maidens, unbelievably delicious food, and chesslike games, etc. everything that appears in moder...more
Stephanie Griffin
Feb 04, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who like mythology
The Mabinogi are four linked medieval Welsh tales; Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, Branwen daughter of Llyr, Manawydan son of Llyr, and Math son of Mathonwy. Other tales are included in this volume, which represents the core of Welsh mythology. Each story is prefaced with a plain-English summary, then the story is presented as originaly written (the editor, Patrick K. Ford, did the translating). There is a handy glossary of names, a pronunciation guide, and an index of names at the back of the book.
The...more
Basicallyrun
I love the stripped-down style of the original tales (well. Apart from the, what, five pages of all the knights that were at Arthur's court that day in one of the tales. I imagine that sounded lovely and lyrical when it was being performed aloud, but in written form it does drag a little) and I think Jeffrey Gantz has done a brilliant job in capturing a slightly archaic, but still perfectly readable cadence here. I also like the way names are left untranslated in the text, but are usually footno...more
Jeffrey
How does a person even presume to review a book that has survived 700 years, containing stories that survived close to their current form without anyone writing them down for a further 300 years?

I originally picked up the book because Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain is based on Welsh myth, Mabinogion is _the_ collection of Welsh myth, and is even acknowledged by the author as one of his sources. Who would want to read some of the proto-stories that gave us the Black Cauldron, and Arwan...more
Nikki
(Sixth book/seventh text in the readathon.)

It's been a long time since I read this in its entirety, if I ever did. I picked it up since I seemed to be on a role with Arthurian stuff, and was surprised to find how many of the stories do have some Arthurian aspect. I was under the impression it was only one or two.

I like the Joneses translation, although the 'thou'ing gets a little irritating and hard to read at times -- perhaps mostly once it's 8am and you haven't slept that night.

Interesting tha...more
Phil
This is a really interesting set of iron age myths, partially because they clearly demonstrate the influence of other traditions, especially Christianity. Much of the narrative style seems to borrow from Biblical narrative styles, and the heroes have been demoted from gods to heroes. However, these stories do retain a lot of the magical elements from the earlier deity myths.

I think it might be difficult for many modern readers to appreciate these stories because there is comparatively little psy...more
Mark Adderley
This is an excellent translation of the Mabinogion. Unlike Gantz, Davies uses familiar spellings of names, which I like; unlike Jones and Jones, she divides dialogue up into paragraphs--a conversation can be pretty confusing when it's printed as a single paragraph. Above all, though, Davies translates for oral performance--they're wonderful stories to read aloud. Occasionally, when the action is getting intense, Davies will switch to the present tense, as the Welsh originals do. It makes the nar...more
Linda
This is the book we are currently reading in the Celtic Studies Discussion Group that I have been running for over a year now. I have already read it in other translations, and I really enjoy it. This translation seems to be one of the most true, although I have a newer one that is full of phenomenal interpretation and commentary. Still, the Ford version is one better for our group.
John
A good translation of the Mabinogi, discarding the "thous" of the Jones translation. What becomes clear from this version is that the Welsh borrowed a fair bit from Irish sources, and they like to make fun of the English and Irish. Also, they have a good sense of humor.
Laura
First off, this is infinitely more entertaining after just having finished Tears to Tiara, on account of that Celtic mythology translates to anime *so well* that it is actually makes more sense in the context of the show than in literature. I mean, this is perfectly normal behavior for any self-respecting Celtic hero. Totally. Tame for a warp spasm!

Also, you can shout ARAAAWWWNNN every time he shows up. Because why not?



The Chretien/Mabinogion Arthuriana stories are so hilariously broship it's ri...more
Andrew
I have five different translations of the Mabinogi, and this is the first one where I was able to finish the whole book, so on that basis alone Davies has my undying affection. Of the others, Ford's has works that this edition lacks, so if I can ever find my copy of it, I will read those to supplement the Davies edition. My only real problem with this translation is that when the "exciting parts" happen (usually the climax of a story), the narrative switches to present tense. Davies claims this...more
Helen
Not really a review, but I was asked for a opinion, so:

I'm nowhere near a qualified scholar of anything Welsh; therefore, I probably missed a lot of intricacies. On the top of that, I read the translation that is generally viewed as inferior. But needs (student's ever-empty pockets) must, so free ebook on smartphone during the commute it was.

Things I noticed:
-Invisibility and magic cauldrons play a great part, even in latter, Christian-influenced works. There are some elaborate illusions as well...more
russell barnes
I'd heard of the Mabinogion, but just assumed it was just a Welsh version of Chaucer, and at £2 in a second hand bookshop it seemed a decent gamble.

Having read it, I now seem to have accidentally read three quarters of the key medieval texts about King Arthur. This isn't necessarily a terrible thing as all three have been quite enjoyable, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my new-found knowledge about corrupt folios, Red Books, White Books and the movement of the legends from Wales and...more
David Kenvyn
Returning to my Welsh roots. These stories are a wonderful mythological understanding of the history of these islands, including the foundation myth that is the story of Arthur. Don't worry about not being able to pronouce the names - no-one will know. Just lie back and enjoy the stories of knights and monsters and enchantments and magic animals and beautiful women and dreams and all those things that make up the best of stories ever told.
Keith
The best collection of old Welsh fairy tales about Arthur and his knights. Dr. Aaron Kleist made us read a few of these in undergrad days for Arthurian lit but it ravished me so much I swore I'd re-read it (all of it!) someday. That day came in April.

The stories I remember having a full-blown aesthetic experience with were just as good as I remember (Owein and the Countess of the Fountain, How Culwych Won Olwen) but also out of this world were The Dream of Maxen and Geraint and Enid. Highly rec...more
Corbin
Sep 27, 2008 Corbin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: myth nerds, Traci Harding fans, Arthurian legend buffs, maruts, misanthropes, mystics
Imagine King Arthur and his knights snuck up on the Tylweth Teg, clubbed them over the head, stole their coyote stories, and then changed all the endings.

In other words, this is a book about just how insufferably rude human beings can manage to be, just by upholding the ideals of their cultures of origin.
Mark Adderley
The main problem with this is that it's a really boring translation. It has excellent notes. There's a much better translation now available, by Sioned Davies.The Mabinogion
Morganu
The Mabinogion is a compilation of short stories of fantasy and folk tales to tell us a little about the history of the beautiful Wales
GaryandRuth
Wonderful stories from Welsh mythology. Currently re-reading :)
Angela Alcorn
We own a few different translations of this, I think. I'm going to note down here exactly which ones we have for my own reference.

We have a translation by Sioned Davies:
The Mabinogion
The Mabinogion

We have two versions of Gwyn Jones translations:
The Mabinogion:
The Mabinogion (Everyman Paperback Classics)
The Mabinogion
The Mabinogion (Everyman's library ; no. 97)

(And when I find the others I'll add those details too).
Mieneke
The Welsh tales in The Mabinogion have been preserved in two manuscripts; the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest. Set down around 1325 AD, the stories are transcriptions of originally orally composed tales. The tales themselves draw from Celtic myth, history and Arthurian legend. They derive their name from the first four tales which are called the Four Branches of the Mabinogi. These four can be considered a clear group of connected tales, just as the last three are grouped as...more
Tyas
Wales, meskipun merupakan bagian dari United Kingdom yang di Indonesia jamak disebut ‘Inggris’ (meski sebutan itu kurang sesuai), sebenarnya berbeda dan harus dibedakan dari Inggris (England). Bangsa Wales telah menghuni daratan Britania sebelum suku-suku bangsa lain berdatangan dari Eropa daratan dan ikut menjadi penghuni pulau tersebut. Uniknya, meskipun bahasa Wales tergolong rumpun Indo-Eropa bersama sejumlah bahasa lain seperti Sanskrit, Yunani, dan Inggris (sepupu dekatnya), ternyata berda...more
Stephanie
I can pretty easily see how these tales could get inside you and need to be re-read, savored again and again. I'm a little sad that I have to give my copy back to the library so soon. There is a lot to explore within these tales: history, the nature of (folk) stories, Arthur, the role of women, to name a few. I have a book, Women in Celtic Myth: Tales of Extraordinary Women from the Ancient Celtic Tradition, which retells the stories of the first Branch from the perspective of the women in it, a...more
Debra
For those who are serious about understanding the roots of all storytelling, this is definitely a must-read. This book definitely helps you understand where the most common formulas for storylines come from, consisting of common uses such as the magic number of 3, fairies and the otherworld, and the connections to and from both parallel worlds. This is definitely one of the ultimate classics of European languages. This book is a great collection and documentation of the oral practices of storyte...more
Harry Rutherford
I didn't do my normal thing of looking for appropriate reading materials before going on holiday — I mean, I'd already read How Green Was My Valley and Under Milk Wood, so there didn't seem to be much point in looking for anything else.*

But when I was running out of reading matter and went to the bookshop in St David's, I was half-looking for something Welsh and settled on the Mabinogion. I knew the name but nothing else about it; as it turns out, it's not one work at all; it's a selection of me...more
Caracalla
I think this is mostly interesting as an artefact of early British mythography and as Jeffrey Gantz is at pains to emphasize generally lacks literary interest. The material here seems to stem from an ill-remembered oral tradition that is heavily influenced by the Irish myth cycle and seems to contain much of the material Geoffrey of Monmouth records (so has a historicizing component?). French Romance seems to have been influenced and then influenced in turn these myths particularly in the storie...more
Tina
This is a very old series of legends. In fact, many of the stories have inconsistencies and some of the stories break off and end without explanation. (Even the footnotes admit that they are missing information.) While that is not the fault of the editors of the book (they can't just make up the ends of these fragmented stories), it made reading a little troublesome. That aside, it was an interesting piece of Arthurian legend. There was a very helpful pronuciation bar at the front of the book, w...more
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108705
Charlotte Guest (nee Bertie) was the daughter of Albemarle Bertie, 9th Earl of Lindsey and his second wife Charlotte Susanna Elizabeth Layard. She married John Josiah Guest, a significantly-older Welsh industrialist and politician and moved to Merthyr Tydfil. The couple had 10 children.

Later Lady Charlotte Schreiber, was an English businesswoman and translator. An important figure in the study of...more
More about Charlotte Elizabeth Guest...
Mabinogion Tales Peredur, the Son of Evrawc Lady Charlotte Schreiber: Extracts from Her Journal, 1853-1891 Mabinogion Legends Fairy Tales From Many Lands

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“So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the broom, and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw. And they baptized her, and gave her the name of Blodeuwedd.” 1 likes
“Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and the earth extends; save only my ship; and my mantle; and Caledvwlch, my sword; and Rhongomyant, my lance; and Wynebgwrthucher, my shield; and Carnwenhau, my dagger; and Gwenhwyvar, my wife” 1 likes
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