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What is the Mabinogi?

A more detailed overview of the Mabinogi is here.

The Mabinogi are the oldest prose stories recorded in Britain, probably in Europe.

These native tales of Britain are mature narratives, where women and men grow, change, and struggle with their fate, their society, and with who they are in themselves. Often best known as Celtic myths or legends, the tales are an intricate literature in their own right. They tell of kings, queens, magicians, destiny and war, children, politics and love.

THIS WEBSITE is mainly about the Mabinogi, also known as Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi, 'the Four Branches of the Mabinogi'. The site does extend to the other stories of The Mabinogion but in less depth.

THE MABINOGION? Many people know the title ‘The Mabinogion'. This is a loose collection of eleven (or twelve) tales. The Mabinogion contains the Mabinogi as four of its eleven parts.
But the ‘Mabinogion‘ as a name for the larger collection is an old mistake made in a mediaeval manuscript, a single ‘typo.’. Recently John K. Bollard has challenged the idea that the Mabinogion collection even makes sense as a collection. He says that apart from the unified Mabinogi, the other tales are too different, their apparent unity deriving from survival in the same manuscript.1)

WORKING WITH THE MABINOGI this site offers a telling of the stories (of course). It covers mediaeval context and manuscripts; Mabinogi revival in the Welsh Renaissance 18th-19thC; academic theories and their scholars. It draws in other connected mediaeval literature, such as the Mabinogion; the Trioedd, 'Triads'; Laws; poetry, mediaeval politics, and wider Celtic concerns. Mabinogi inspirations in retellings, storytelling, theatre, mythology and spirituality, fiction, visual arts and modern media are also included.
Indexes list lots of facts about the Mabinogi. They are searchable, and can be ordered on names A-Z, or by date making timelines.
The Mabinogi Bibliography is especially comprehensive, the only unified bibliography of almost all works about the Mabinogi, and much more besides as described above: approaching 2,000 listings.

THE MABINOGI is one of the most fascinating source works of world literature.
It has inspired legends, artworks, poetry, theatre, music, spirituality, film and fanfic, endless retellings. The work is as much part of the classic culture of Britain as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Benn, Austen, or Orwell. It repays careful study for it is far more than simple stories. We can find in them links to mediaeval politics and laws, ancient lore and mythology, sophisticated literary structures, a wise humour, complex humanity, and a vision of cooperative society. This wealth is all displayed in a deceptively simple style so the tales can delight children and adults alike with the joy of a really good story. The Mabinogi is a precious gift from Wales, the earliest known prose stories in Britain, perhaps Europe.

A more detailed overview of the Mabinogi is here.

John K. Bollard, 'What is The Mabinogi? What is “The Mabinogion”?' (2007) Read online
whatis.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/26 22:43 by admin