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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars8
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2009
It's very disappointing that the caveat printed inside the cover of this and other 'Forgotten Books' publications isn't reproduced on the Amazon listings - 'this book has been scanned and reformatted from the original, and as such as cannot guarantee that it is free from errors or contains the full content of the original'. So full of errors that after just a couple of pages I had to get a pencil to mark my own corrections. The text has been very badly corrupted and as both English and Welsh are involved this makes reading both difficult and dispiriting. Don't waste your money on something with such poor production standards.
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on 17 February 2012
Yes there are errors in formatting, even potentially errors in spelling, crucial when trying to unravel complexities between misunderstandings in confluence of languages. However many of Mr Skenes observations and his reproductions of the bards are invaluable to scholars. It is not easy to unravel but is seriously worth the effort of persevering. This era was difficult,language and spelling were inconsistent. Some languages did not recognise certain lettering, MH when transcribed by the romans would be V, Y would become I. To find a scholar who recognises that St Ciaran is the same man as St Pieran, that place changes name purely because race does not accept the idiosyncracies of anothers language, instead adding their own interpretation to personalise individuals. This possesion of greatness by owning the King, Knight or Saint, by attaching them to local language and place means many individuals could in fact be few!Interesting avenues, especially in The verses of the Graves from the Black Book of Caermarthen.
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on 8 February 2014
While this is evidently a well-researched and very interesting read for anyone wishing to know more about the literature of ancient Wales or the origin of many Arthurian legends, I cannot give this any more than two stars for one simple reason: the way it has been laid out makes it very difficult to read. Almost EVERY PAGE prior to the books themselves has a spelling or grammar error, with asterisks often cutting in halfway through paragraphs or on a page far removed from the point to which they are attached. This makes it incredibly difficult to read as one is constantly having to flick back and forth in order to try and establish where a sentence will continue and whether or not to continue reading a paragraph before or after the section that has cut into it mid-word. It is almost as if someone unable to speak English has simply been handed the hard copy and told to type it up without being supervised or even given a spellchecking program. Another potential stumbling block for readers is the lack of translations for the majority of the Welsh and Latin passages used by the author, meaning that without at least a basic understanding of both languages it would be even for difficult to follow the points made which rely on said extracts.

Overall, this is an interesting look into the cultural and literary traditions of our ancestors rendered practically unreadable in parts by an apparent lack of care on the behalf of the publisher to even check the finished product.
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on 12 March 2009
The Four Ancient Books of Wales is an anthology of Bardic poetry of Wales written and translated by Scottish historian William F. Skene first printed in 1868.
With the dissolution of religious orders in Wales at the time of Henry 8th which saw the distribution of their libraries over the centuries; various collections made their way to safe havens, Jesus College Oxford obtained some but a collection Earl Pembroke was destroyed by fire at Raglan Castle in the time of Oliver Cromwell but one collection eventually made it's way safely to The British Museum.
We are lucky still to be able to read these direct words from the Welsh Bards of over a thousand years ago which are closely related to the stories from the Mabinogion. For those familiar with these old legends from Wales will find a hint of King Arthur and also J. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Ring trilogy in these pages there are links forged of this forgotten world before the Norman invasion when we almost the loss of our heritage to an alien language.
The books making up this collection of ancient Welsh books are called The Book of Aneurin, The Red Book of Hergest, The Black Book of Carmarthen and The Book of Taliessin and are what is termed the Four Ancient Books of Wales. Granted they became books in the Norman times but their lineage goes back to pre invasion of 1066. Here are spun the forgotten history and legends from our first Celtic language kept alive during the times or suppression and invasion.
These pages can stand alongside Old and Middle English tales of Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon and The Wanderer; all poems from a similar era that echo the glory of a proud people. These are poems to echo around the Mede Hall as sparks fly from the log fire shooting skyward into the black of night.
This is a book interesting for the modern reader as well as scholar of mythology and history; the publisher Forgotten Books have again succeeded in presenting a forgotten treasure into our modern world.
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on 11 September 2015
Not read as yet
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on 4 July 2015
not read it yet
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on 10 May 2015
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on 8 February 2015
This is an awesome but heavy read. Worth it though the stories are amazing =)
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