Tales from the Mabinogion
Published by: Y Lolfa
Imprint: Y Lolfa
- Published: 10/2017
Gwyn Thomas and Kevin Crossley-Holland's modern adaptation of the medieval stories of Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan and Math. Illustrated by Margaret Jones. Reprint; first published in 2006. ~Publisher: Y Lolfa
Repackaged for a new audience of readers and explorers of the Mabinogion, this classic version of the old Celtic stories retains its magic and its mystical charm. The famous stories of Prince Pwyll and the elusive Rhiannon, of Branwen and the giant Bendigeidfran and of Blodeuwedd the flower-maid are placed in the fuller context of the Four Branches, or ‘parts’ of the collection.
The plots are rambling and convoluted and this can sometimes be confusing to the modern reader; similarly the characters are not always clearly defined, and even their names can cause difficulties. (Here the glossary with pronunciation aides is invaluable.) The translator’s story-telling technique, however, and his attention to narrative pace and sentence length, helps keep the reader focussed. Here Gwyn Thomas seems to echo the strategies used by the original bards and storytellers as they sat around medieval firesides, recounting the epic struggles of both the hearts and the bodies of the ancient heroes and their womenfolk. Margaret Jones’s original illustrations – some of the most famous and crisply executed of her distinctive style – complement the text, and provide further insights into the settings, costume and sheer majesty of the ancient courts of Wales, at the same time reminding us subconsciously perhaps of the 13th century illuminated Welsh manuscripts which hold the first written key to these even older tales.
The original 1984 Gollancz has been out of print for several years, and its reappearance fulfils the need for an accessible translation of the stories, together with a simple but informative introduction of their history. Tales from the Mabinogion can be enjoyed not only by younger readers but also by grown-ups eager to find out more about this strange mixture of folk-tale legend and sheer romance – so central to our literary heritage in Wales and so often referred to and reworked in other Welsh writing in English. ~Chris Stephens @ www.gwales.com
Please note that ePub files can now be opened on Kindle.