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Celtic Myth and Legend (Celtic, Irish) Paperback – 28 Mar 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (28 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486425118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486425115
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,360,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pat Regan - author of Dirty Politics on 16 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I adore this old book. It was first published in 1905, according to my old version. I have had my own green-backed copy for decades and it is held together with tape. It was one of the most influential books on my psyche and led me to later write both The Torch and the Spear and The New Pagan handbook. The information in its lovely old pages (over 400) forms an enormous reference for any genuine seeker who wants to access data about the heathen mythology of the British Isles. This is far removed from the typical, fluffy bunny spell-book tripe that we frequently face in New Age shops, which are comically supposed to be about myth, paganism or the occult. It just oozes sincerity and is a detailed study of the native deities and traditional mindset of our earlier pre-Christian ancestors. I have taken the mythological lessons within Squire's book and decoded them in my own works so that his superb efforts will not be lost. This wonderful work is a great stepping stone for anyone who wishes to shake off the thrall of monotheistic mind control and indoctrination and enter the gates to understanding their Pagan birthright. I was lucky enough to discover this folklore work many years ago - it is a treasure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A classic, but not without a few problems 14 July 2001
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic, and is one of the best collections of Celtic myth on the market. Maybe _the_ best. Everyone who is a mythophile or a Celtophile should have a copy of this.
That said, it isn't perfect. Most of the flaws in it can be traced to the time in which it was written (1912). First, it stretches too far to compare everything to a Greek or Roman myth. To call the Dagda "Zeus" or Branwen "Aphrodite" is a little inaccurate, in my opinion, but I try to keep in mind the fact that he was presenting the Celtic myths to an audience obsessed with Greek myths. He even mentioned in his foreword that part of the reason for writing the book is because he was bored with poets' constant classical allusions, and wanted to give them a fresh well of legend on whicb to draw. So, in drawing parallels between Celtic and Greek myth, he was probably just trying to translate the Celtic myths into a format that his audience would understand.
The second, and more serious, gripe is Squire's anti-paganism. He buys into every rumor ever spread about Druidic human sacrifice. While at least one body has been found which was probably the victim of sacrifice, there is no evidence I've seen to indicate that the Celtic religion was the bloodbath it has sometimes been made out to be. Human sacrifice seems to have been present but very rare. Squire loves the Celts' stories, but tends to present the people themselves as bloodthirsty savages in dire need of Christianity to "civilize" them. Again, this may just be a product of Squire's times; he might have had to bash paganism just to get his book published in those days. Or the stories of widespread sacrifice may have been more commonly accepted as historical fact. I don't know. But if you can take his bias with a grain of salt, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Celtic myth.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great as a text 6 Oct. 2003
By Andrew Asmundson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for an 'accounting' of Celtic Myths and Legends this is a great book with with a table of pronunciation, a great index for quick reference and an appendix of other recommended books. It is,however, very dry reading.
If you judge the book by the description on the back of the book:
"The romance of Celtic legend is unsurpassed, but many people have only a vague knowledge of the myths and legends of Britain's inhabitants. In this fascinating book, Charles Squire gives an astonishing account of the colourful Celtic characters who are part of the heritage of Great Britain."
The words fascinating, astonishing and colourful all make promises that the book can't keep.
I think that Myths and Legends would be much more accesible to the common man if told by a master storyteller that can grab and hold your attention, this book comes across as an academic study.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A good beginning 2 July 2001
By "darkewolf" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is great for the beginning reader of celtic mythology. Although it is fairly heavy reading it covers many points (not always in great depth) that can then be followed up in other books.
A very useful purchase that is opened at least once a week in my household for reference reasons.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good overview with some stretching... 18 Jun. 2001
By A. M. Vincent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although slightly outdated (the book was first publised in 1905), this book still provides a good overview of the major players in Irish and British mythology. The few flaws the book contains derive mainly from the author's need to show that every myth has parallels in other cultures (wittness the "Irish Illiad")
This approach does lead to some stretching, at least on the part of the reader; I, personally, lack the linguistic background to find the author's claim that Nimue and Vivian are both direct derrivations of Rhiannon obvious, and he offers no background or proof. However, he provides some wonderful insight into the sources of myths that still permeate our culture, and for that reason alone this book is worth reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
stale and boring, albeit authoritative 12 Jun. 2009
By Bruce D. Wilner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wonder why it is that Dover insists on resurrecting these centenarian "classics" that reek from the profoundest nadirs of Victorian/Edwardian writing. The material, while bursting at the seams from its completeness and thoroughness of research, is presented in a most unappetizing manner. The author must circumlocute almost forever until he gets down to brass tacks, and--when he finally embarks on the meat of some myth or other--you have to read hard between the lines to torture the actual story line out of the narrative. There's got to be a better way to bone up on the rudiments of Celtic myth, and I think I've found it: "Druids, Gods and Heroes" by Anne Ross, likewise e-available at Amazon. You'd do well to avoid Squire and books of that ilk. Dover tries so very hard to deliver quality stuff, and they very often do, but Squire is *not* a shining example of their success in that direction.
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