Cover image for The Mabinogion
The Mabinogion
Jones, Gwyn, 1907-1999.
Uniform Title:
Mabinogion. English.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf, 2001.

Physical Description:
xliii, 259 pages ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PB2363.M2 J66 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PB2363.M2 J66 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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.

Preface by John Updike

(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)

Author Notes

Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones were, respectively, Professor of English at Aberystwyth and Cardiff and Professor of Welsh at Aberystwyth. They are the authors of numerous works of scholarship in Welsh and in English.

John Updike , novelist, poet, and critic, is perhaps best known for his four Rabbit novels, published in Everyman's Library as Rabbit Angstrom.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

While the Arthurian romances still inspire an endless stream of books and movies, this medieval Welsh classic is relatively unknown. Perhaps, as John Updike indicates in his preface, this is because reading the book feels "as if we are dancing with a partner who hears a distinctly different music." The work is divided into 11 disparate tales. Only the four of the first section are explicitly "branches of the Mabinogi," or stories of a youth. The youth in question, according to a tradition followed by Gwyn Jones in her introduction, is Pryderi, the son of a Welsh King, Pwyll. However, the cyfarwyddi, or Welsh bards who told the tales, added so many digressions to them that Pryderi became a secondary character in a sea of folktales. Particularly interesting is the motif of the chastised wife. Pryderi's mother, Rhiannon, is punished twice. In the first tale, she is falsely accused of eating her son (who has been spirited away) and must offer herself to be ridden like a horse at the court of Arbeth. In the third tale, she and Pryderi are both put under enchantment by Llwyd, a king of the Otherworld, and are only rescued by a ruse of Manawydan, the Briton who married Rhiannon after Pwyll died. Manawydan threatens to hang a mouse who has been eating his wheat, when Llwyd appears to him and confesses that the mouse is his wife. The other tales and romances allude both to the world of the Mabinogi and Arthur's Britain. Among the best is "Culhwch and Olwen," which contains a genealogical catalogue trumping anything in Genesis. With renewed interest in Celtic culture, there might be a popular audience for this new translation, but the book will sell best in academic communities. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Mapsp. xiv
Introductionp. xvii
Note on the Editors and the Textp. xxxix
Note on Pronunciation of Welsh Namesp. xl
Select Bibliographyp. xliii
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi
Pwyll Prince of Dyfedp. 3
Branwen Daughter of Llyrp. 23
Manawydan Son of Llyrp. 38
Math Son of Mathonwyp. 50
The Four Independent Native Tales
The Dream of Macsen Wledigp. 71
Lludd and Llefelysp. 80
Culhwch and Olwenp. 85
The Dream of Rhonabwyp. 122
The Three Romances
The Lady of the Fountainp. 139
Peredur Son of Efrawgp. 164
Gereint Son of Erbinp. 203
Textual Notesp. 243
Supplementary Textual Notesp. 247
Index of Proper Namesp. 249