The Mabinogion

I’ve had a copy of The Mabinogion for years. I’m finally reading it again can’t remember how much I read before. And it’s interesting. The person who compiled this edition Lady Charlotte E. Guest has anglicised the Welsh words. I’m not sure what the best edition is but I’ll read this first.

It’s interesting that Arthur is mentioned because nobody knows if the character originated in Cornwall (Tintagel just a tourist thing by the way sorry) or Wales. But then there are French tales of his knights.
I’ve only read the first story so far but I’m wondering if anyone has anyone read it? Or knows anything more about it?

I’ve got a version for Welsh learners from when I started learning Welsh, and a copy of the the ‘original’ text from when I studied it at university. I think as far as editions in English go, the one by Gwyn Jones & Thomas Jones is one of the best…

You might find this interesting -


As far as I know (and I’m not an authority) the tales of the Mabinogi are an amalgamation of many stories including old Celtic religion with the gods mutated during the Christian period into secular heroes and a kind of folk history, trying to make sense of the huge social and cultural upheavals of the post-Roman period.

It makes sense that the culture that hosted these stories should, as it retreated into the north and west, associate the places in the stories with the culture’s new heartlands - southern Scotland, Wales and Devon/Cornwall.

Much of the romantic character of Arthur does indeed come from the French interpretation, much of which appears to have come through Breton culture, rather than via sources such as Geoffrey of Monmouth.

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I would suggest Sioned Davies’ (2007) translation with introduction and notes, published by OUP as a follow up. You are opening a real can of worms by trying to trace Arthur’s roots however, which could take over your life if you’re not careful. Enjoy reading the tales.

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I’m not going to trace his roots it’s just interesting :joy:

Can’t argue with that.

Haia Siaron

What’s the edition of the original that you have? I just have the first two branches in the Dublin Institute edition in the little red hardbacks, but every now and again I fancy seeing how much I could make of Macsen or Lludd a Llefelys – is yours all four branches, or the independent native tales as well, or what?


It’s this one by Ifor Williams.

It’s just the four branches - Pwyll, Branwen, Math, Manawydan, so it doesn’t have the other tales.

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