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First told orally by unknown generations of Welsh storytellers, "The Mabinogion" was subsequently written down in the 13th century in the form of a collection of prose tales. These stories draw on pre-Christian Celtic myth, folklore, and Welsh history and tradition to tell a magical set of stories that reach back to the Iron Age and Arthurian romance. These eleven tales are set in both the land of Wales and a dim otherworld, with a wide cast of vibrant characters who bring their dreamlike world to life. From two brothers who scheme to kidnap a virgin to a chieftain who roams foreign lands when his own is spellbound, "The Mabinogion" is full of magicians and shape-shifters, witches and giants, dragons and knights, all of whom interact in a country struggling to preserve its independence. With tales of Arthurian quests of honor and stories of revenge and love, "The Mabinogion" is a fantastical collection of myth, legend, and romance that has fascinated and entertained readers since medieval times.
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Preface by John Updike
The 11 stories of "The Mabinogion, first assembled on paper in the fourteenth century, reach far back into the earlier oral traditions of Welsh poetry.
Closely linked to the Arthurian legends--King Arthur himself is a character--they summon up a world of mystery and magic that is still evoked by the Welsh landscape they so vividly describe. Mingling fantasy with tales of chivalry, these stories not only prefigure the later medieval romances, but stand on their own as magnificent evocations of a golden age of Celtic civilization.
This translation of "The Mabinogion has, since its first appearance in 1949, been recognized as a classic in its own right. It was last revised by Gwyn Jones and his wife, Mair, in 1993.
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