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The Mabinogion Sioned Davies (Chair of Welsh and Head of School, Cardiff University)

The Mabinogion By Sioned Davies (Chair of Welsh and Head of School, Cardiff University)


The Mabinogion is one of the great epics of medieval literature. Weaving together Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance, the eleven Welsh tales include stories of dragons and giants, kings and heroes, and shape-shifters and magicians. This lively translation re-invests the tales with the power of performance.

The Mabinogion Summary

The Mabinogion by Sioned Davies (Chair of Welsh and Head of School, Cardiff University)

Then they took the flowers of the oak, and the flowers of the broom, and the flowers of the meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden that anyone had ever seen. Celtic mythology, Arthurian romance, and an intriguing interpretation of British history - these are just some of the themes embraced by the anonymous authors of the eleven tales that make up the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion. They tell of Gwydion the shape-shifter, who can create a woman out of flowers; of Math the magician whose feet must lie in the lap of a virgin; of hanging a pregnant mouse and hunting a magical boar. Dragons, witches, and giants live alongside kings and heroes, and quests of honour, revenge, and love are set against the backdrop of a country struggling to retain its independence. Sioned Davies' lively translation recreates the storytelling world of medieval Wales and re-invests the tales with the power of performance.

The Mabinogion Reviews

Davies's prose is stark and fierce, the laconic dialogue spine-tingling, and she makes the page sing. * Marina Warner, The Independent *
An accurate and very lively version of the tales: it sounds modern and reads well. * Gwyn Thomas, Cambria Magazine *
This fresh, energetic translation is a revelation and, for the first time, shows off The Mabinogion tales as what they were originally: splendid entertainment. * The Guardian Review *
The Mabinogion is famously magical. Enchantment glows on every page, but it does not here violate the laws of nature: it reveals them. * Murrough O'Brien, The Independent on Sunday *
An illuminating and relaxed translation...The Mabinogion are the cornerstone of medieval Welsh literature. They are gloriously inventive, highly dramatic, sometimes ferocious, sometimes lyrical, often witty, and ultimately profound in their understanding and revelation of human nature. In my estimate, Sioned Davies has done them and her modern readers proud. * Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Times (Books) *
Davies's translation surpasses all its predecessors in accuracy and readability... [her] scholarly introduction is greatly superior to that of previous translators and can be recommended unreservedly. * Patrick Sims-Williams, TLS *
It may be said at once that the translation will have instant success. It will bring the tales to thousands of new readers, while its commentary will be a vital tool for scholars....By fuelling debate on this and other questions, Sioned Davies's splendid volume inaugurates a new age of Mabinogion studies. * Modern Language Review *
...a frsh translation which clears away archaisms and preconceptions to privilege the clear voice of story...[and] which is linguistically rigorous yet ever awake to the requirements of both text and reader. * Institute of Translation and Interpreting *

About Sioned Davies (Chair of Welsh and Head of School, Cardiff University)

Sioned Davies is Chair of Welsh at Cardiff University. Her special interest is the interplay between literacy and the oral tradition, together with the performance aspects of medieval Welsh narrative. Her publications include Crefft y Cyfarwydd, a study of narrative techniques in the Mabinogion, The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, and a co-edited volume, The Horse in Celtic Culture: Medieval Welsh Perspectives.

Table of Contents

Introduction Translator's Note Guide to Pronunciation Select Bibliography Map: The Wales of theMabinogion THE MABINOGION The First Branch of the Mabinogi The Second Branch of the Mabinogi The Third Branch of the Mabinogi The First Branch of the Mabinogi Peredur son of Efrog The Dream of the Emperor Maxen Lludd and Llefelys The Lady of the Well Geraint son of Erbin How Culhwch won Olwen Rhonabwy's Dream Explanatory Notes Glossary of Personal Names Glossary of Place-Names

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The Mabinogion by Sioned Davies (Chair of Welsh and Head of School, Cardiff University)
Used - Very Good
Oxford University Press
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