Gwendolyn's Reviews > The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion by Unknown
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Oct 16, 07

bookshelves: kingarthur
Read in October, 2007

So THIS is where Lloyd Alexander's Taran stories come from...you know, The Black Cauldron. The characters and plots are his own, but the culture, myths, importance of pigs, and names with lots of /gw/ and /ll/ sounds are based in ancient Wales. Specifically this group of 12 early Welsh tales, known collectively as The Mabinogion.

These stories are arranged from those that are very old to those slightly newer. Most were probably handed down by bards in an oral fashion for generations before they were ever written down. So there is no clear authorship or dating of the material. And of course, this is a translated work into English. So reading them, I felt that it was choppy, not fluid like a good tale should be. The pacing of the story telling was off, and some words appeared to be a one to one dictionary replacement for something that doesn't quite translate directly between the two languages.

Although none of the tales told the central King Arthur story, a few of them did feature others from his court. As Luke would put it, it was about a bunch of guys running around with swords, bonking each other over the head with them. Chivalry at it's best.

So I enjoyed reading this, but it does seem a lot more like scholarly research than reading stories for pleasure.
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