The Mabinogion, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'I cannot be killed indoors,' he said, 'nor out of doors; I cannot be killed on horseback, nor on foot.' 'Well,' she said, 'how can you be killed?' Celtic mythology, Arthurian romance, and an intriguing interpretation of British history - these are just some of the themes embraced by the anonymous authors of the eleven tales that make up the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion. They tell of Gwydion the shape-shifter, who can create a woman out of flowers; of Math the magician whose feet must lie in the lap of a virgin; of hanging a pregnant mouse and hunting a magical boar. Dragons, witches, and giants live alongside kings and heroes, and quests of honour, revenge, and love are set against the backdrop of a country struggling to retain its independence.

This new translation, the first for thirty years, recreates the storytelling world of medieval Wales and re-invests the tales with the power of performance.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, one map
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary essays
  • ISBN: 9780199218783



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Supervisor wanted me to use a different translation to my old one (the Everyman 1993 edition). So I had to get this one. It's supposed to be more accurate -- I don't know about that, but it does seem a bit more immediate and colourful than the old Everyman edition. The little I know suggests it is a good translation, and it's certainly readable, and has a full complement of explanatory notes, introduction, etc, which is more than I can say for the Everyman edition. Slightly odd order of tales, not sure what she's organising them by -- certainly not date, as Culhwch and Olwen is almost the last.<br/><br/>As for the tales, they are always a thing of unchanging delight, for me. Especially nice to reread them after reading Seren's New Stories from the Mabinogion series.

Review by

The first four stories are really excellent, weird old stuff from pre-christian Wales that move quickly and are consistently entertaining and surprising. I found the Arthurian stories a little less interesting, though not terrible by any stretch. The Welsh taxonomy is just fantastic, and puzzling out the correct pronunciation of character and place names (with the help of the pronunciation guide) is a great game. Wales seems to get short shrift among Celt-crazy Americans, and it seems a bit unfair after reading this.<br/><br/>Also recommended if you enjoyed Lloyd Alexander in your youth, as he clearly drew heavily from this and similar sources.

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