Welsh Legends and Folk-Tales

welsh legends and folk-tales gwyn jonesWelsh Legends and Folk-Tales, retold by Gwyn Jones, 5/5

These retellings are lively and witty, without pretension or rambling, and perfectly suited for reading aloud.  It was especially interesting to read stories about King Arthur told from a Welsh perspective.

N.B. The Welsh pronunciation guide is rather unfortunately located at the back of the book, where you will encounter it after some 250 pages of incorrect mental pronunciation of names such as Blodeuwedd and Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

There are charming pen and ink illustrations by Joan Kiddell-Monroe at the beginning of each chapter.  Also, fans of vintage C.S. Lewis and Tolkien books will undoubtedly recognise the name of illustrator Pauline Baynes, who did the cover art for this edition.

When I bought the book, I knew nothing about the author besides that, judging from the first name, there was a good chance she was Welsh.  It turns out HE was Welsh and, in fact, a renowned scholar, writer, and translator of the Mabinogion (a collection of mediaeval Welsh myths).  Gwyn Jones’ Wikipedia article is somewhat deficient, but I did find an interesting entry about him in Drout’s J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia.

[Why I read it: I’m interested in lesser-known mythologies (especially those of the British Isles), so I picked this up at the thrift store for 99¢. The book felt like your average junky paperback and I was unfamiliar with the author, but seeing Pauline Baynes credited on the back cover really sold it to me, giving the book some class and authenticity.]


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