Sep 16, 2009

Mabinogion

Yeah, that's a mouthful.

In yesterday's post I briefly touched on one of my favorite subjects. Myths and legends.  I'm a huge fan, and for a while there back in the day it was all I read.  Actual myths and legends and/or novelizations of the subjects. 

Evangeline Walton was an author who introduced me to Welsh mythology, specifically the Mabinogion.  She wrote novelizations of the four branches of the Mabinogi back in the 1930's, but they weren't all printed until they were rediscovered in the early 1970's.  I was given the four books as a gift when I was either 8 or 9.  I immediately devoured them, maybe not understanding everything included in them.  But I was a re-reader back them.  I'm sure I had re-read those four novels a half a dozen times before I graduated from High School.

But I hadn't really thought about them again until just yesterday.  And you know what?  I remember most of the names and plot outlines, but the rest of it escapes me.  Guess I'm getting old.  So I'm thinking of looking for these old paperbacks in an used bookstore.  Somehow searching for something from my past like that doesn't seem to jibe with a quick Amazon search.  Yeah...a dusty old used bookstore seems more appropriate.

Here are the names of the four books.  Check out some of these names.
  • Prince of Annwn - In which the Prince Pwyll offends the ruller of Annwn before spending some time living as the ruler of the Underworld.  He then returns and encounters the beautiful Rhiannon whom he woos by trapping her bethrothed in a bag and having him beaten to death.  The classic girl meets boy, boy traps boyfriend in bag and has him beaten to death story.  Ah...love.
  • The Children of Llyr - I remember this one being my favorite of the series.  It mostly has to do with Branwen, the daughter of the King of Britain and her marriage to the King of Ireland.  My favorite part was when a huge King Bran waded across the Irish Sea to seek vengeance against the Irish King for beating his daughter.  I forget how it ends though.
  • The Song of Rhiannon - The son of Rhiannon and the son of Branwen (from the first two stories) get together and cause all kinds of mischief.  Branwen's son actually winds up marrying Rhiannon in the classic MILF scenario.  His name, by the way, is Manawyddan.  Trying typing that five times fast.
  • The Island of the Mighty - Originally published as "The Virgin and the Swine".  Hard to believe it wasn't an immediate literary success.   Chronologically the last in the series, it was the only novel originally published back in 1936.  It's about this dude named Math whose feet must be held by a virgin at all times except while his people are at war.  I don't remember where the swine comes in.
So have any of you nerds out in Blogland ever read any of these books?  Am I the only one?


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Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Manawyddan, Manawyddan, Manawyddan, Mannaway...fuck!

11 comments:

2anes said...

nope, never heard of them. wasn't much of a reader as a kid

sybil law said...

Myths are fascinating! I love that you typed Manawyddan 5 times. Ha!

B.E. Earl said...

2abes/anes - But reading was fundamental?

Sybil - I tried. ;)

Heff said...

I used to be into Greek Mythology, but that was back when I was a teenager.

Slyde said...

if you really want to hear the Songs of Rhianna i can load you the CD.

B.E. Earl said...

Heff - that's mostly when I was into it too, but a lot of it has stuck.

Slyde - Do you have a cold? Is it somehow affecting your typing? "Load?" ;)

i am the diva said...

they sound interesting! i loves me a good myth... however, welsh/celtic spellings of names and places usually causes my brain to explode.

B.E. Earl said...

Diva - especially Welsh. That's a crazy ass language. Old too...really old.

Steph said...

I too was really into Celtic mythology for many years. I think I might have read The Children of Llyr. It sounds very familiar, as does the author's name, but there were so, so many books...

livesbythewoods said...

Hurrah! Yes, I read them. But then my Mum is Welsh, so I learned how to say the names too as a child. Comes in very handy on the netball court, that skill.

B.E. Earl said...

Steph - Evangeline Walton was also famous for her blue skin. True story.

LBTW - At last! Someone else who has read this stuff. :)