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Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland (Celtic, Irish) [Paperback]

Jeremiah Curtin

RRP: 12.49
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Book Description

4 Aug 1975 Celtic, Irish
Twenty folk tales representing hundreds of years of the collective Irish imagination transport readers to a world where everything is alive and anything can happen! Vivid descriptions of battles with giants, dead men who come back to life, humans imprisoned in animals' bodies, heroes with incredible strength, and more.

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Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland (Celtic, Irish) + Irish Tales of the Fairies and the Ghost World (Celtic, Irish)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great storytellers' resource 26 Sep 2001
By Maria Larson - Published on
I can't recommend this wonderful book highly enough. Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland contains stories collected in the West of Ireland by Jeremiah Curtin during the end of the nineteenth century. Jeremiah Curtin was an Irish American ethnographer, working for the Smithsonian Institution. He did not speak Gaelic himself, but he hired Gaelic-speaking interpreters to record traditional stories from the oral tradition, and then translate them into English. Because of Mr. Curtin's faithfulness to the original sources, the stories are written in a wonderful prose, full of poetic, traditional phrases. We can hear the voices of nineteenth century Gaelic-speaking storytellers speaking from the page.
The stories in this book fall into two groups: Irish versions of widespread folktales such as "Cinderella", "The magician and his pupil," or "The giant with no heart in his body", and native Irish Fenian tales, about Finn MacCool and his companions. Reading them leads you into another world, where people would gather in the evening, by the light of a peat fire, and listen to a storyteller speak about heroes and lucky younger sons, giants, magicians and monsters. As an amateur storyteller, I have found this book to be a great resource, specially for Saint Patrick's Day, but suitable for all occasions. The stories practically tell themselves. I have found "The fisherman's son and the gruagach of tricks" to be specially popular, maybe because of the thrilling chase at the end.
I can also highly recommend another book by Jeremiah Curtin: Irish Tales of the Fairies and the Ghost World. This a collection of more homely folk-tales, full of great Halloween storytelling material.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing stories about old Ireland 26 Jun 2008
By Trista Johnson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I've been looking for a book that was fun to read and had myths and legends from Ireland. I have other books by W. B. Yeats and Lady Wilde that are just too dry to really just enjoy reading. I'll read them anyways, but I don't like it nearly as much as Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland. The only complaint I have is that I wish the book was longer!!! I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Ireland, or just myths and folk tales in general.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very well executed, but ultimately leaves one wanting 12 Jun 2009
By Bruce D. Wilner - Published on
I don't know whether to blame the author or myself, but I find my appetite whetted but ultimately not fully satiated when I read this generous collection of entertaining--if common as dirt--Irish folktales. When one owns as many mythology, anthropology, and folklore books as I do--and is cursed with an eidetic memory--stuff congeals until one is about to cry. I read a Curtin story, putatively fresh, and find myself recognizing an episode from a French tale, a motif from a Russian tale, a character type from a Swedish tale. I know, I know, the Indo-European motifs are largely parroted over and over, albeit in sheep's clothing, in various milieux. But Curtin could have done a better job of protecting me from this heavy dose of sameness by trying a bit harder to cull some, perhaps, less typical tales. I know they're out there: the author must resist the temptation to deliver tales that, while artistically quaint or rich in some wise, are entirely repetitive of motifs that the well-read folklore enthusiast is more than apt to have digested over and over in multiple, vaguely differentiated forms. So, all in all, it's good stuff, but I can't say it's terribly original.
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