Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Mabinogion translated by Charlotte Guest

Considering how obsessed I am with Welsh language and culture, it certainly took me long enough to read this! Of course, I'm glad I did. It's a collection of medieval Welsh hero tales--many of them are quite a bit older than that, of course, but they're first found written down in the twelfth century. It's actually fairly obvious which only survive in more recent forms, between the Europeanization and the Christianization. The first four, I think, are the most interesting. They are the least Christian, feel the most Welsh, and certainly have the best female characters (plus, they're the only ones in which the term "mabinogi" actually appears). This translation also includes part of the tale of Taliesin, which was fun to read, but unfortunately in a very Christianized version--Ceridwen is represented as an evil hag and Taliesin is always talking about how he serves God and Jesus. I also had a slight issue with the translation of the whole thing--many of the names seem to be partially Anglicized, so that I can't really tell how they're properly spelled or pronounced.

No comments: