Most helpful positive review
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Very fine new translation
on 26 February 2010
This is a new English translation of that classic collection of Welsh myths and legends known (erroneously) as The Mabinogion, consisting of eleven stories featuring King Arthur and his knights, magic, shape-shifting, giants, talking animals, wily gods and powerful goddesses. These tales are probably most familiar to English readers through the first English translation made by Lady Charlotte Guest in the 1840s, reprinted many times since and available for free download from several websites. The Guest version benefits from a high Victorian, King James Bible style of writing, replete with thees and thous. Personally, I'm a sucker for all that. Unfortunately, as a good Victorian gentlewoman, Lady Charlotte edited out what she regarded as the naughty bits of the stories. For this reason alone, this new translation is to be welcomed. Being made by a much better-informed scholar of the Welsh language, this edition is also much more accurate than its predecessor. Not only that but the translator, Sioned Davies, has a strong interest in the oral storytelling tradition in which the tales were originally formulated and has, therefore, produced a text eminently suited to being read or spoken aloud for an audience. The language is clear and the tales come across as fresh and entertaining, capable of being read for enjoyment rather than purely for historical interest. Hooray for that, as they are very fine stories, representing one of the oldest storytelling traditions in Europe. Hopefully this excellent translation will bring them before a wider audience.