The Mabinogion

ISBN : 9780198815242

Sioned Davies
336 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Oxford World's Classics Hardbacks
  • The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven medieval Welsh tales, whose invention and fantastical interweaving of Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance have made it one of literature's greatest epics.
  • Sioned Davies's magnificent translation is the first to place due emphasis on the tales' oral origins.
  • The introduction places the tales within their storytelling context, and examines their central themes and the central role that public performance played in their evolution.
  • Invaluable explanatory notes illuminate aspects of medieval Welsh society, highlighting the relationship between the tales and cross-referencing them in a way that has never been done before.
  • Glossaries of personal names and place-names translate their meanings and identify locations. A map shows the locations of The Mabinogion.
  • A pronunciation guide aids the pronunciation of Welsh names.

Then they took the flowers of the oak, and the flowers of the broom, and the flowers of the meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden that anyone had ever seen.
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.
Sioned Davies' lively translation recreates the storytelling world of medieval Wales and re-invests the tales with the power of performance.


Translator's Note
Guide to Pronunciation
Select Bibliography
Map: The Wales of theMabinogion
The First Branch of the Mabinogi
The Second Branch of the Mabinogi
The Third Branch of the Mabinogi
The First Branch of the Mabinogi
Peredur son of Efrog
The Dream of the Emperor Maxen
Lludd and Llefelys
The Lady of the Well
Geraint son of Erbin
How Culhwch won Olwen
Rhonabwy's Dream
Explanatory Notes
Glossary of Personal Names
Glossary of Place-Names


Sioned Davies is Chair of Welsh at Cardiff University. Her special interest is the interplay between literacy and the oral tradition, together with the performance aspects of medieval Welsh narrative. Her publications include Crefft y Cyfarwydd, a study of narrative techniques in the MabinogionThe Four Branches of the Mabinogi, and a co-edited volume, The Horse in Celtic Culture: Medieval Welsh Perspectives.

"Davies's prose is stark and fierce, the laconic dialogue spine-tingling, and she makes the page sing." - Marina Warner, The Independent

"An accurate and very lively version of the tales: it sounds modern and reads well." - Gwyn Thomas, Cambria Magazine

"This fresh, energetic translation is a revelation and, for the first time, shows off The Mabinogion tales as what they were originally: splendid entertainment." - The Guardian Review

"The Mabinogion is famously magical. Enchantment glows on every page, but it does not here violate the laws of nature: it reveals them." - Murrough O'Brien, The Independent on Sunday

"An illuminating and relaxed translation...The Mabinogion are the cornerstone of medieval Welsh literature. They are gloriously inventive, highly dramatic, sometimes ferocious, sometimes lyrical, often witty, and ultimately profound in their understanding and revelation of human nature. In my estimate, Sioned Davies has done them and her modern readers proud." - Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Times (Books)

"Davies's translation surpasses all its predecessors in accuracy and readability... [her] scholarly introduction is greatly superior to that of previous translators and can be recommended unreservedly." - Patrick Sims-Williams, TLS

"It may be said at once that the translation will have instant success. It will bring the tales to thousands of new readers, while its commentary will be a vital tool for scholars....By fuelling debate on this and other questions, Sioned Davies's splendid volume inaugurates a new age of Mabinogion studies." - Modern Language Review

"...a frsh translation which clears away archaisms and preconceptions to privilege the clear voice of story...[and] which is linguistically rigorous yet ever awake to the requirements of both text and reader." - Institute of Translation and Interpreting