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*19thC *annwfn *character *coherent *critique guest *cwn annwfn *death *gods *goddess *hunt *interweaving [guest’s] *journal *mabinogion *magic *morality *pryderi cycle *pughe *romance *ruler [Mabinogi] *status *social status *structure *style *three themes *voice *women

1802 Jan. 21Pughe'The Mabinogion, or Juvenile Amusements, being a kind of dramatic tales, are in themselves some of our most singular productions; and I have little hesitation in asserting them to have been the origin of romance writing in Europe.' Address to Society of Antiquaries, London. (Publ. 1808, p. 219)
*19thC *romance
1821 Jan. 21Pughe'Mr. Davies, in his “Celtic Researches,” p. 175, considers Annwn to imply, figuratively, the condition of the dead or the infernal regions,which comprehended the Elysium and the Tartarus of antiquity.’ And, in support of this opinion,he quotes the proverb, “Nid eiri annwnond unwaith” -There will be but one journey to hell,– and, likewise, the common expressions, Cwn Annwn, hell-hounds, and Plant Annwn, children of the deep, certain wandering spirits.' (Cambro-Brit. Vol. 2, No. 18, Feb., 1821, p. 272. Ref. Edward Davies, Celtic researches, on the origin, traditions & languages of the Ancient Britons, 1804)
*19thC *annwfn *pughe
1830 Sept 4Aneirin Owen(Pughe's son, letter to to A. J. Johnes) 'My Father has promised me to write to Mr. Hughes this day on the subject of the Mabinogion. His wish is to have the work published at Denbigh under his own inspection, as he could intrust the correction of the press to no one but himself. … We have already the sum of £50 lodged in Denbigh Bank to be applied towards the expenses, and I shall conceive than [sic] an additional £50 would be sufficient to set the work on foot.' (Marion Henry Jones, 'The Letters of Arthur James Johnes', 1809 -71, NLWJ, v. 10, no. 3, (1958) p. 243)
*19thC *mabinogion *pughe
1830 Sept 4Aneirin Owen(Pughe's son, letter to to A. J. Johnes) ‘I cannot expect any further assistance from my Father. Since his return from S. Wales last autumn he has not been able to amuse himself with literary employment, the reading of a newspaper is too great a task for him and he feels this deprivation the more poignantly, as other sources of amusement do not interest him. His disorder is evidently nervous, perhaps accelerated by exposure and exertion … (p. 244) I could have wished a revision of the Mabinogion, but this under present circumstances must be dispensed with, & as it the work is complete, it had better be published …’ (Marion Henry Jones, 'The Letters of Arthur James Johnes', 1809 -71, NLWJ, v. 10, no. 3, (1958) pp. 243-44)
*19thC *pughe
1834 May 24PugheFrom Egryn, Denbigh. ‘Dear Friend, … I am highly flattered with your intention of inscribing this publication to me, a memorial of my having taken some pains with the work. [He does not refer to the Mabinogion here.] Synden -line – I have – I break off, dear friend, finding myself unable to proceed with the necessary application as a few minutes of either reading or writing causes me much fatigue about the back and loins. … I suffer no pain, except feeling the fatigue … my tongue runs on very well and without fatigue – and all this makes me concerned at leaving your letter unanswered … Yours truly – Farewell! Wm. Owen Pughe’ (Marion Henry Jones, 'The Letters of Arthur James Johnes', 1809 -71, NLWJ, v. 10, no. 3, (1958) pp. 256-57)
*19thC *pughe
1834 est.Guest'Why should we disregard our own traditions … because they have not been handed down in Greek or Latin? For my own part, I love the old Legends and Romances as they teach us so naturally the manners and opinions of those who were, in fact, much more nearly connected with us of the present day than were any of the heroes of Rome.' Visit to Warwick Castle. (Guest, R & John 2007 p. 103. Not dated.)
*19thC *journal
1835 Nov.GuestOn meeting Elijah Waring ‘our conversation turned much on the superstitions and legends of Wales - I think it might be desirable to make a collection of them.' (S.Davies, 'Guest', p. 102)
*19thC *journal
1838 Jan 6GuestShe found the work difficult 'being so little conversant with the Welsh' (S.Davies, 'Guest', p. 112)
*19thC *journal
1838Guest‘the Cymric nation … has strong claims to be considered the cradle of European Romance' (Everyman ed. 1906, p. xxiii)
1839 27 AprilGuest'I cannot endure anything in a second grade. I am happy to see we are at the head of the iron trade. Otherwise I could not take pride in my house in the City and my Works at Dowlais, and glory (playfully) in being (in some sort) a tradeswoman. Then again, my blood is of the noblest and most princely in the Kingdom, and if I go into Society, it must be the very best and first. I can brook no other. If I occupy myself in writing, my book must be splendidly got up and must be, as far at least as decoration and typography are concerned, at the head of literature'. (S.Davies, 'Guest', p. 170)
*19thC *journal
1867Arnold'The very first thing that strikes one, in reading the Mabinogion, is how evidently the mediaeval storyteller is pillaging an antiquity of which he does not fully possess the secret; he is like a peasant building his hut on the site of Halicarnassus or Ephesus; he builds, but what he builds is full of materials of which he knows not the history, or knows by a glimmering tradition merely—stones “not of this building,” but of an older architecture, greater, cunninger, more majestical. In the medieval stories of no Latin or Teutonic people does this strike one as in those of the Welsh.' (Part II, p. 61.)
*19thC *status
1901AnwylThe Mabinogi 'form a unified whole, worked together with considerable skill by a writer to whom the materials seem to have been thoroughly familiar from frequent narration'. (Part IV, p. 123)
*coherent *style
1911E.J.Lloyd'To appreciate fully the value of the Mabinogion as Literature', we must examine their structures and formation, we must study their plot and style', and ‘The first thing one notices about the Four Branches is that they form a complete and coherent whole, and seem to be four chapters in one story, the hero of which is Pryderi.'. (p. 171) cf. Arnold, 1867
*coherent *pryderi cycle *structure *style
1911E.J.LloydConclusion: 'Thus we see that the Mabinogion are of inestimable value as literary production, inasmuch as they mirror not only medieval ideas and customs, but also because they contain traces of old Celtic thought in the numerous traditions of gods and goddesses embodied in them. Their literary value is also enhanced by the finished and elegant style of the tales, and by the fact that the plot in most cases is exceptionally good. That Wales should have a literature such as this in the Middle Ages is a fact to be proud of because of its own intrinsic value, but also because of the marked influence it has had over the imaginative literature of Europe.' (p. 248)
*mabinogion *status *gods *goddess *style
1911E.J.Lloyd'The term Mabinogion is an artificial one, and is used to denote the collection of tales embodied in the Red Book of Hergest, and translated by the Lady Charlotte Guest under that title, but, strictly speaking, the term refers exclusively to the Four Branches, though nowadays it is found a convenient designation for the Four Branches, Maxen Wledig, Lludd and Llevelys, Kulhwch and Olwen, and the Romances.' (p. 165)
1911E.J.Lloyd'the supernatural is treated as the most natural thing in the world.' (p. 164) 'We therefore see that the Mabinogi are made up of local legends, explanation of triads interwoven with traditions concerning ancient gods and goddesses. Magic is the chief machinery of the stories …'(p. 222, magic 'chief machinery' also 230) 'that peculiar, weird, and mysterious fascination which formed so large a feature of the Mabinogi and of Kulhwch and Olwen.' (p. 232)
*gods *goddess *magic
1911E.J.Lloyd'Nothing is more noticeable than the treatment of women in the Mabinogion, even in the tales which do not bear the stamp of chivalry. Great deference is paid to women, their opinion is respected, and their advice sought.' (p. 234)
*voice *women
1911E.J.Lloyd'The value placed on conversational power is repeatedly emphasised in these tales; thus Pryderi mentions Rhiannon's skill in this direction when suggesting to Manawyddan the advisability of marrying her.' (p. 236)
*voice *women / Manawydan
1911E.J.Lloyd'Pryderi and Manawyddan contrasted, the latter being described as a cautious and wary person, rather (p. 235) given to cunning, and prudent in all his negotiations. Pryderi, on the other hand, is more truly Celtic perhaps, being impulsive and hot-tempered, and easily driven to act rashly and thoughtlessly. The difference in their characters is revealed in the way Pryderi wishes to resort to arms immediately on learning that they were threatened by the saddlers and shoemakers, and his impetuosity is restrained by Manawyddan who points out the folly and futility of his proposal.' (pp. 234-35)
1911E.J.Lloyd'Rhiannon is the perfect lady, who, rather than condescend to wrangle with the women who had wronged her, prefers to suffer in silence. Branwen, on the other hand, has no scruple about sending a message to her brother asking him to avenge her wrong, although the punishment inflicted upon her was not nearly so heavy as that which Rhiannon bore so quietly.' (p. 235)
*character *morality *women
1911E.J.Lloyd'From the Mabinogion we see that justice, truthfulness, and straightforwardness seem to have been qualities greatly admired by the Welsh. Thus we see in the Mabinogi of Math, the justice and wisdom of Math contrasted with the wickedness of Gwydion and Gilvaethwy. … the stress laid upon the faithfulness of Pwyll and Arawn … Teyrnon unhesitatingly deciding to restore Gwri, … showing a keen sense of duty and appreciation of what was fitting. … But, after all, their code of morals was rather a strange one, for although they were so scrupulous over the sacredness of a promise, yet they sanctioned the disgraceful and mean treatment which Pwyll dealt to Gwawl, on the occasion of their second meeting' (p. 235)
*character *morality
1911E.J.Lloyd'Wrongdoing is everywhere in the Mabinogion harshly punished. There are two very prominent examples of this in the Four Branches in the case of Gwydion and Gilvaethwy, and in that of Gronwy Pefr.' (p. 236)
1911E.J.Lloyd'All these considerations tend to show that the ethics of the Mabinogion almost coincide with modern ideas of morals, and so betray an advanced stage of civilisation, and evince an artistic perception in the way they embody these ethical ideas in picturesque and pleasing form.' (p. 236)
*morality *status
1911E.J.Lloyd'the importance placed upon rank. Thus in the encounter between Pwyll and Arawn, we observe the deference with which Pwyll treats Arawn when he learns his status, and later when Pwyll visits Annwn in the guise of Arawn, he is received and attended to by pages and two knights, and we are told further that they sit at table in order of rank, an allusion which is also found in the account of Branwen's marriage feast at Aberffraw … Rhiannon considers it unseemly that a lady of her position should argue with low and unprincipled women.' (p. 236) 'Manawyddan is repeatedly told how very unbecoming it is for a man of his rank to condescend to punish the mouse that has offended him.' )p. 240)
*social status /Manawydan
1911E.J.Lloyd'the nobles taking counsel together to ask Pwyll to divorce his wife because she was childless is an interesting indication of the way the government of the country was carried on, as it proves that the prince was not an absolute ruler, for Pwyll does not deny their right to advise him in this way' (p. 237)
*social status *ruler
1911E.J.Lloyd'Annwn is the Celtic paradise, whose inhabitants possess a higher civilisation, and whence come the blessings of this world. The first, and only, reference to Annwn is found in Pwyll … The inhabitants of Annwn are described as having the same pursuits as the dwellers of the upper world, to which they apparently have free access, and it is even possible for mortals such as Pwyll to sojourn in the mysterious other-world of Annwn occasionally. Perhaps the beautiful white dogs with red (p. 244) ears, which are described in the story of Pwyll, are those known in folklore as Cwn Annwn. There is no suggestion in the Mabinogion that the dwellers of Annwn had anything necessarily to do with the spirits of the dead' (pp. 243-44)
*annwfn *death
1912WJG‘land of departed spirits’ (p. 50)
*annwfn *death
1929Ellis & Lloyd'The intention of Lady Charlotte Guest appears to have been to produce a version which could be used for the instruction and amusement of her own children, with the result that parts of her translation are either inaccurate or bowdlerised.' (p. viii)
*critique Guest
1929Ellis & LloydAnnwfn ‘originally conceived of as the abode of the gods, a pleasant, rich country, full of everything a man might need’ (p. 3) Welsh Hades, the abode of the dead. (p. 7, n. 15) Critiqued by Ifor Williams review
*annwfn *death *gods
1948Jones & JonesGuest's text is ‘but a paraphrase’ and ‘not the beauties of the original.' (pp. 5-6)
*critique Guest
1974Bollard'There is no incident or detail which remains isolated or superfluous in the Four Branches.' (In Sullivan, p. 168)
1974Bollard'the author has utilized his material to create a work that is both meaningful and artistically unified. The intricate structure which can be seen throughout the Mabinogi is very closely woven, yet the author has sufficient control over his materials and over his own artistry to prevent the tales from becoming too complex in their interrelationships.' (In Sullivan, p. 192)
*coherent *structure
1974Bollard'The four branches have the effect of presenting the tales to us much the same way that decorative interlace designs form knots which help to create form within the interlace. The four tales are juxtaposed in order that the reader might compare the events of one with those of another, while each forms a complete tale in itself. The author expects his readers to keep in mind various themes, and when an episode arises, a slight reference to similar previous occurrences interlaces them together and we get a broader view of the entire pattern of the tales.' (In Sullivan, p. 168)
*interweaving *structure
1974Bollard'The three major themes which the author develops in the Four Branches are three of the functions of society which bind together, or separate, various groups and elements of that society. These themes I have rather loosely termed Friendships, Marriages and Feuds.' (In Sullivan, p. 168)
*three themes
1977FordMovement between here and Annwfn has ‘little or no difficulty, Pwyll, Arawn, shapeshifting ‘accomplish their transformations easily. … most common … is the chase or hunt. ’Pwyll simply becomes separated from his companions.’ There are no other ‘territorial markers’, the return has no ‘precise demarcation.’ The only indication to audience is the red and white colours of the hounds.(p. 35)
*annwfn *hunt *cwn annwfn
1986Valente 'Rhiannon is a mother, and her son is in danger of his life; there is nothing odd in her behavior, nothing impulsive about her reaction … were she to to stand complacently at Manawydan's side, we would find her to be a heartless creature.' (p. 6)
1986Valente Of Rhiannon: 'Speech is as important a factor in the analysis of her character as is her golden costume or the fact that she rides a supernatural horse.' (p. 46)
*women *magic *voice
1986Valente 'I would now like to turn to the women, as Bollard suggested, and see what powers and significance they have in the story— and actually possessed in the medieval world— listening to what they are saying to the reader in their own words.' (p. 91. Cites Bollard, 'Structure' p. 132)
1995Hemming, then Hooker‘the Mabinogi as it stands is a coherent and logical piece of work’ and ‘the meaning may be extracted only through examining the narrative structure.' (p. 14)
*coherent *structure
2004S. Davies'It is certainly no exaggeration to claim that, as a direct result of Guest’s translation, medieval Welsh literature was placed on the European stage.' ('Guest', p. 161)
*19thC *status *guest critique
2004S. Davies'such critics seem to want it both ways: the translation is not scholarly and the fault lies with Lady Charlotte; on the other hand, she was heavily indebted to excellent Welsh scholars such as Carnhuanawc, Tegid and others.'('Guest', p. 167; also see White, ‘Crimes’, (1995), p. 247.)
*19thC *guest critique
1ss.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/19 05:25 by admin