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The Mabinogion Tetralogy Paperback – 16 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd. (16 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715643711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715643716
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 4.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Ranks with the best of 20th century works of fantasy --Publishers Weekly

The Mabinogion is certainly among the top five fantasy series of the twentieth century 

Not only the best fantasies of the twentieth century, but also great works of fiction. --Saturday Review

About the Author

Evangeline Walton (1907-1996) is one of the pioneers of fantasy fiction. She received a World Fantasy Award in 1985 and in 1989 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award and named a Grand Master of Fantasy by the World Fantasy Convention.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the fourth branch by Evangeline Walton when I was still at school. A teacher recommended it to me after I talked to him about 'The Owl Service'. I wanted to now more about the story that underpinned the plot of TV series and Miss Walton's style of writing made the ancient text more accessible to a young mind. Now, not so young, I'm delighted to rediscover this classic and indebted to Overlook Duckworth for publishing it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alistair clethero on 26 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this in my twenties and just reread it. I'd forgotten how good this is. An excellent read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By IAN JOHN MACINTOSH on 11 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EW was a writer who inhabits the world she evokes. She never drifted into cliche and develops her characters wonderfully. Having all the branches in one single volume is a Godsend. Manda Scott (Boudica) and Evangeline Walton are the greatest writers of British myth-history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
An incredible treasure back in print! 14 Aug. 2002
By Peter M. Schogol - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Back in the early and mid 1970s a series of 4 fantasy novels written by one Evangeline Walton and based tightly on the Welsh myths known collectively as The Mabinogion were published in this country by Ballantine Books. THE PRINCE OF ANNWN; THE CHILDREN OF LLYR; THE SONG OF RHIANNON; and THE ISLAND OF THE MIGHTY were for many of us our first introductions to Celtic mythology. Ms. Walton was an expert storyteller, and having read the 1949 Gwyn and Thomas Jones translation of THE MABINOGION, and struggled through a Welsh-language version for young people called Y MABINOGI: CYFADDASIAD NEWYDD, I can say that her paraphrase of these tales is superb, faithful, and an incredibly exciting read!
The individual novels have long been out of print and hard to find. Overlook Press has just published the four novels together in one elegantly produced hardback entitled THE MABINOGION TETRALOGY.
Although Ms. Walton, who died in 1996 at age 92, began writing her novels decades before Tolkien began his, and her style is leaner and perhaps cleaner (aided, no doubt, by the fact that she was reworking already existing material whereas Tolkien was weaving entire worlds from his own yarn), the Tetralogy should appeal to a similar readership.
I can't recommend this edition highly enough!
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Matter is an A+; manner D- 7 Sept. 2003
By J.C. Sahyan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This might very well be *most* poorly edited book I've ever purchased. Miss Walton's novels are wonderful, in every sense of that word; they rate 5 stars. The volume, though, merits no stars at all, thus my average of 2 stars. The book is utterly laden with distracting and misleading errors of all sorts. Words that make no sense in context substituted for what I know (having read the much better Ballantine paperback editions, years ago, and simply knowing the tales) should be there; whole passages repeated out of sequence. And I'm only some 50 pages into it! Overlook needs to fire whoever purported to edit this thing, and apologize to its customers...and to the memory of Evangeline Walton.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I loved it! 7 July 2004
By Anika Leithner - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with this book. Walton does a wonderful job of reworking the original Welsh legends into four stories. Naturally, she allows herself certain artistic freedoms, such as interpreting disputed aspects of the legends in a way that seems most plausible to her. However, her skill and her imagination make me gladly accept her interpretation.
The writing is probably the most beautiful I have read since Tolkien. It is rich in detail, vibrant, and poetic. A pleasure to read. The same is true for the characters, who really do come to life in Walton's book. She (re)creates gods and men, heroes and monsters, while at the same time exploring some of the recurring themes of humankind, such as love and loyalty, strength and courage, etc. The basis for all this is the same cultural background of the original Welsh mythologies, i.e. the fundamental conflict between the belief of the Old Tribes, in which women were quite independent and powerful, and the New Tribes, in which women are inferior to men and the role of women as 'creators of life' is slowly forgotten.
At the same time, I don't think this book is for everybody. If you enjoy contemporary fantasy with a Celtic background along the lines of Katherine Kerr, then you may be disappointed by this book. Not every subplot is pursued to completion, not every character is described fully. Walton implies as much as she tells us. The language is as much poetry as it is prose. Like I said, it's beautiful, but read it for what it is!
Anika Leithner
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully rendered Celtic myths 8 Sept. 2002
By Lleu Christopher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Mabinogion is an ancient collection of Welsh mythology. There have been quite a few modern translations, especially with the current Celtic revival. In my opinion, however, this four volume set by Evangaline Walton is by far the best. Many myths and fairy tales, while still enjoyable to read, are written in a less than scintillating style. Events and characters are duly described in a kind of methodical history book manner. Walton, on the other hand, brings the characters and stories to life in a truly literary fashion. Thus, these volumes can be enjoyed not only by folklorists and Celtophiles, but also by anyone who loves good fantasy novels --or good novels in general. The Welsh language has long been a source for many fantasy writers, including Tolkien. Though I can't properly pronounce most of the words and names in the Mabinogion, just reading them sends the imagination on an astral journey. Arawn, King of Annwn (the underworld); Rhiannon, Gwydion, Arianrhod...It would be too confusing to go into the details of the stories, but they are almost all concerned with magical battles (of wits as often as with swords) between various mortals and gods. Many of the tales of the Mabinogion are related, but they are not continuous. You could read any one of the four volumes by itself, which may be forced upon some readers if they rely on finding them in used bookstores. Fortunately, there are quite a few editions out there, including some newer ones, so you should be able to buy them as a set.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A masterpiece of literature 20 Jan. 2006
By Siobhan Olaoghaire Sannes - Published on
Format: Paperback
Don't read this book because you want to get closer to the wealth of Welsh myth. Read this book because it is stunning and beautiful. Reading this book you are in the hands of a competent bard aware of the complexities of human behavior. Walton takes you on an adventure complete with misplaced love, tragic deaths, and heroic splendor. She has taken the bare bones of myth and altered little by added a lot and crafted a masterpiece of literature.
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