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The Mabinogi

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2017

'Here at the turn of the leaf a horseman is riding
through the space between one world and another . . .'

The Mabinogi is the Welsh national epic, a collection of prose tales of war and enchantment, adventure and romance, which have long fascinated readers all over the world. Matthew Francis's retelling of the f
Paperback, 89 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by Faber Faber (first published 2017)
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Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Antonomasia by:
It's easier gettng into Norse and Greco-Roman mythology in the original (translated) texts after growing up on adaptations. So it made sense to read this short poetic adaptation of parts of the Mabinogion although I still haven't read the original. (It covers the first to fourth branches, but not, so far as I can tell, the named stories after those.)

I am part Welsh (North Welsh) but I have a very hazy sense of the culture and never met the few Welsh-born elderly relatives whose lifetimes just ov
Dannii Elle
I'm ashamed to have not read The Mabinogi sooner, given its status as a Welsh (where I hail from!) national epic and the length of time it has been on my tbr. I had highly placed hopes for this one and I am glad it competed with these expectations.

This features the first four stories, or the first four branches, of the Mabinogi. These were somewhat disjointed sections but they essentially followed the same narrative. Folklore, magic, and whimsy abounded, and I was captivated by every implausibl
Поетичний переказ перших чотирьох частин-“гілок” середньовічного валлійського епосу “Мабіногіон”. Очевидно, звучить переказ не як епос, а як модернізм – з висоти ХХІ ст. підкреслено свідомий літературної сконструйованої природи всіх цих історій, що колись функціонували, очевидно, як легітимації політичного і екзистенційного світопорядку – з уважністю до ролі оповідача і т.д. Красиво до чортиків.
Трошки красивих цитат урозсип (зверніть увагу, скільки разів персонажів і ландшафти описано як написи
A superb poetic retelling of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi.

In his introduction, Francis says that he's streamlined and slightly reorganised the stories to fit his verse and to promote a greater sense of narrative flow than is present in the originals. Something of a concern before I read the poem itself, but in making these changes to the stories he has retained both their charm and their gnomic otherworldliness.

I always feel grounded when I read the Mabinogi, despite the fantastical, magica
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Opening lines: ‘Here at the turn of the leaf a horseman is riding through the space between one world and another, warm in his company of noises: hoofs, hornsqueals, hound- and man-cries.
Liam Guilar
This is review is too long to post here:
Triumphant. Exquisite. Essential.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. I struggle to like reading myth and legend in general, and have even less parience with most film verisons. But this verison of The Mabinogi, like me, loves the vitality of language, and is pithy and to the point. It covers the first four branches of "The Mabinogion", successfully editted to cohere these into a whole greater than the sum of their parts. Exactly what I needed, this does for The Mabinogi what Seamus Heaney did for Beowulf.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant retelling of the first four parts of the Welsh epic. A bit of judicious reshaping gives it coherence without losing the delightful weirdness of these myths. And the language is gorgeous.
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I enjoyed reading this a lot.

It is Matthew Francis take on four branches of the Welsh folk tales called the Mabinogion. He tells each branch, ending with perhaps the best-known story - that of Bloduedd, magically created out of flowers. That final branch also calls back to the earlier stories as a story-teller magician tells his stories.

It's neat.

It's also lovely writing. Poetic without being fancy. Hard when it needs to be and soft when soft is best. There's one particular passage in the Four
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read

This was an enjoyable read. I don't usually read poetry but I listened to the Hay podcast with Matthew Francis and the excerpts he read sounded intriguing. The imagery and language are exquisite and I read it in one sitting. It helped that I read the intro first and the short notes in the text also helped me follow the narrative. I enjoyed all the preposterous magic and odd twists of the tale. I recommend it for its uniqueness and wonderful language or if you're interested in myths
Nick Spencer
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
brilliant. instant re-read. almost as good as Wing.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
"so, do you fight, or slip out
the tradesmen's entrance?"
Steve Cook
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“And the fields are complicated with flowers,
summer an insurrection of bees,
the days like clover petals'
pinpricks of nectar”
“Night gets its own way in the end. The torches go out,
the fire burns down to its internal organs,
and the hall is charcoal and darkness.
His mind shrinks as the heat dies,
a ticking ember.”
More quotes…