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A Celtic Miscellany

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Including works from Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Cornish, Breton and Manx, this Celtic Miscellany offers a rich blend of poetry and prose from the eighth to the nineteenth century, and provides a unique insight into the minds and literature of the Celtic people. It is a literature dominated by a deep sense of wonder, wild inventiveness and a profound sense of the unc ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by Penguin Classics (first published 1951)
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This book has problems that made it nowhere near as worthwhile as I'd hoped:

First, it's full of fragments, except where the wholes are very short, anyway. Excerpts just make me want to see the full thing, to get the context and story properly. Second, there's poetry in here, but it's translated as prose. Whenever someone says, "It's not possible to translate poetry," they really mean, "I'm not up to the task but my ego won't allow me to admit it."

One does get a flavour of the literatures (all si
This book is a must for all those who want to immerse themselves into the world of the Celtic literature, so distant yet, in certain aspects, so close to us. Divided into ten sections, it shows us that the Celtic nations (Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Manx) were the masters of the Word(s).

+1 Well organized with interesting notes and commentary at the start of every section
-1 Barring the masculine generics and general invisibilization of women to be found everywhere :/ The author always refers to the writers, oral poets and readers/audience as 'he/man/men', while in reality, even taking a patriarchal system into account, there were some female writers and poets to be found in Medieval Celtic literature (cf. for example Peter Berresford Ellis' Celtic Women).

-1 One thing I
An interesting collection but I wish they hadn't cut so much out. There are frequently entries to things like the Mabinogion, which I can get in a full text edition. I would have preferred more obscure texts that weren't available in other English editions.
Though these words date from the 8th century and beyond, the poetry is fresh, lyrical and frankly fascinating.
Patrick Stuart
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an utterly lovely book.

I think for anyone who already knows a lot about Celtic verse this is going to be a bit like a 'Greatest Hits' album, so not that interesting, but I didn't know anything (or not much) about it, so for me it hit at exactly the right angle.

What is it that gives a culture one mind and not another? I'm familiar with the slow advance of colour words in language and discovered from this, though not to my surprise, that the Celts were in advance of others. Certainly from
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was neat to read Celtic literature across the centuries.
Stephanie Ricker
I read A Celtic Miscellany recently, which is a collection of Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Cornish, Breton, and Manx poetry and prose selected and translated by Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson. It’s aptly named; this collection is definitely a hodgepodge. Some of it is brilliant:

"I shall not go to my bed tonight, my love is not in it; I shall lie on the gravestone–break, if you must, my poor heart. There is nothing between him and me tonight but earth and coffin and shroud; I have been further ma
Apr 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-lit
I always want to like Celtic writing more than I do, but then that tends to be true for most medieval lit, the sagas being the only true exception. Like much of Penguin's medieval publications, the translation is old but serviceable. If you can get something better, do, but Penguin is there for all of us that don't have ready access to more accademic tomes.
Chas Bayfield
I bought this to read something originally written in Cornish and was disappointed at the poor representation of that language. Two extracts against loads from Wales, Scotland and Ireland. I guess it serves the Cornish right for not writing anything more interesting but it still seems harsh.
Anthony Murphy
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful collection of prose and poetry and wisdom from the Celtic world, with a hefty dose of Irish material. A wonderful addition to my bookshelf.
Ellis Knox
Truly a miscellany, with a mix of poems and stories drawn from all across the Celtic world, from the earliest Middle Ages right into the 18th century.
Angel 一匹狼
A very interesting compilation about Celtic literature in its six languages. As a compilation some of the stories/poems are better than others, but a very interesting book nonetheless.
Melissa H.S.
This book has many excerpts of longer works in Celtic literature, so it was a nice taste of many different works. Now to read the full texts. :)
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi
I just couldn't maintain interest in this.
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