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The Mabinogion (1976)

The Mabinogion (1976)
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Rating
3.95 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0140443223 (ISBN13: 9780140443226)
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English
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penguin classics
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The Mabinogion (1976)
The Mabinogion (1976)

About book: Хотелось бы эдак где-нибудь в приличном обществе выдать: "А я вот тут вот прочитала сборничек валлийских легенд..." Но не получилось бы. Потому что я никак не могу запомнить, как это называется. Манобигион? Магобинион? Стоп, там в середине были ноги. Ма-ноги-бином.Узнала о существовании эдакой валлийской Эдды из книги Гарнера "Совиный сервиз". Гарнер точно гений и способный преобразователь старинных легенд, потому что в оригинале история о Ллео как его там, сыне Гвидиона, и о девушке-сове, даже на 10% не такая захватывающая. Увидеть в этом потенциальный сюжет для современной истории и рассказать её - талант.В древнейшие времена истории рассказывалось совсем по-другому и смыслы были совсем другие. Что в Беовульф е, что в любом сборнике легенд. Я это совершенно не в состоянии воспринимать. Очередной плоский герой куда-то пошёл и кого-то убил. И так сто раз.С удивлением узнала, что классические истории о короле Артуре и его благородных рыцарях изначально выглядели совершенно по-другому. Гораздо позже рыцари обзавелись средневековым благородством и куртуазностью, а ещё позже ещё и христианскими добродетелями, которые им там как рыбке зонтик нужны. Чужая красивая культура прямо на наших глазах превращена в руины. Опять же, Гарнер совершенно точно это передал: грязные убогие валлийцы по мнению британцев и более поздних завоевателей, не могут быть носителями хоть сколько-нибудь ценной культуры, кто сильнее, тот и прав, так что давайте забывайте там свои традиции и верования. И очень жаль. Валлийские короли не только не заморачиваются по этикету, но и считаю не зазорным научиться полезному ремеслу. Женщины все сильные, красивые и вполне самостоятельные персонажи, а не беззащитные как скот, как в более поздних традициях, когда женщину задвинули на самые задворки. И кругом царит магия. Красота же!

A wonderfully curious collection of old Welsh tales. Not exactly literature, not exactly folktales, not exactly mythology. Like folk tales and mythology it’s the expression of a collective mindset, yet it’s also the product of individual (now anonymous) authors elaborating upon or distilling long existent oral tales, more than likely preserved across centuries by highly skilled bards. The introduction refers to them as Wondertales, actually an official subset of Folktales. Sounds wonderful to me. This collection dates in manuscript from the 14th century, but speculation takes their origins back another 400 years or more. Suffice it to say that these are old stories, with beginnings shrouded in obscurity. They also happen to contain some of the very earliest elaborations of the Arthurian legends.The style of storytelling is very different from our common present day style. While the language and sentence construction is fairly basic, the narrative threads themselves are very compressed, with less emphasis on the slow rise and fall of dramatic tensions and more simply abrupt happenings and endings. In this regard I found similarities between it and many of the Old Testament tales. It’s as if much more was left up to the reader (or listener), more room given for the play of the receivers’ imaginations, less pre-digested if you will. It took just a little while for me to get accustomed to this, and once I did I was gripped and transported to another time, another mindset; a mindset shrouded in obscurity but definitely still vibrantly alive; a mindset where journeys to and from the Otherworld, talking owls, and ferocious giants come as naturally as meat and drink and a maiden's pale thigh.There is much debate and speculation about who “owns the rights” to the Arthurian legends. Much of what we know today about them, and HOW we know them, are due to Chretien de Troyes who was writing in the 12th century. From him we got the more courtly and refined Arthurian images expressed in a very literate way, orderly and well-constructed. But (according to many scholars) The Mabinogion predates his works and (according to me and many scholars) presents a set of stories much more robust and rustic, somewhat sketchy and rough-hewn, yet still somehow sophisticated, like a Wildman bedecked with emeralds, much more Grimm than H. C. Andersen.
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Reviews
Jan-Maat
The odd thing about collections like this is the need to drop any idea of an original version of the stories. Stories are told and changed, always in flux until they are caught between the pages of a book. Then a version is set in ink, the way that maybe one person told them in one place and at one time. For instance some of the stories have digressions giving spurious reasons for the names of places. It is easy to imagine a storyteller changing those as they went from place to place to set their heroes in the immediate local landscape.Some lead into or are on the other fringes of the Arthurian tradition, others have pagan echoes even while God and his mother are frequently evoked. Evocative.
Keith
The best collection of old Welsh fairy tales about Arthur and his knights. Dr. Aaron Kleist made us read a few of these in undergrad days for Arthurian lit but it ravished me so much I swore I'd re-read it (all of it!) someday. That day came in April. The stories I remember having a full-blown aesthetic experience with were just as good as I remember (Owein and the Countess of the Fountain, How Culwych Won Olwen) but also out of this world were The Dream of Maxen and Geraint and Enid. Highly recommend this for youngsters, for oldsters, scholars, and bibliophiles.
Hilary
The Mabinogion is a collection of medieval Welsh tales that makes up a rich mythological tradition. The tales themselves are only tangentially related - only one character, Pryderi, appears in all four branches. Nevertheless the tales are fascinating, rich and varied in their interpretation. This translation, Sioned Davies, was recommended to me as a good starting point so I happily took it. I'll likely try out other translations as the year goes on.Not being too thoroughly versed in Welsh culture, I found it fascinating. Small clutches of mythical symbolism and characters can be seen. Glimpses of British, of Irish, of Gaul - small swaths of Orkadian creatures and belief. There's King Arthur there, there's the cult of a head, there's a cauldron of plenty. The myths are rich and strange. Here are the original versions of some characters that later got bastardized into something else. Arawn comes to mind for that one...All in all, it's great. This edition also carries within its a wonderful version of Parzifal that I'd highly recommend to anyone who enjoys that story.
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