A collection of Welsh stories put together by a 19th century aristocrat using 14th century manuscripts transcribing and probably adapting oral literature that could date as early as the 11th It is notable for its three romances (Owain, Peredur, and Geraint) that parallel Chrétien de Troyes’s (Yvain, Perceval, and Erec); the jury is still out on who influenced whom, however. But it also contains two major Arthurian texts that have no parallel elsewhere: Culhwc and Olwen and Rhonabwy’s Dream. Despite all the textual and cultural influence problems it carries, for the contemporary reader the Mabinogion is the most accessible window on the Welsh tradition. Although it’s sometimes hard to make sense of the stories (they read more like scripts for declamation than written literature), it’s a rewarding start for the reader who is inclined towards the kind of mythological collections such as the Eddas, the Kalevala, or Tolkien’s own mythos.

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