From Way, Way Back in Your Book Backlog

dask

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I ordered a copy of the Everyman paperback of The Mabinogion from Parker and Son in England, and presumably picked it up (30 Nov. 1976) at the post office in Ashland, Oregon, where I lived. After a while I began to read it. This edition (Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones) is eleven stories, starting with the Four Branches (Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, Math), which I read for the first time 30 Apr.-1 May 1999 (and again 3-4 August 2011). Today I read, for the first time, the last of the book's stories, "Gereint Son of Erbin." So I've read the whole book now.
Any good?
 

hitmouse

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I ordered a copy of the Everyman paperback of The Mabinogion from Parker and Son in England, and presumably picked it up (30 Nov. 1976) at the post office in Ashland, Oregon, where I lived. After a while I began to read it. This edition (Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones) is eleven stories, starting with the Four Branches (Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, Math), which I read for the first time 30 Apr.-1 May 1999 (and again 3-4 August 2011). Today I read, for the first time, the last of the book's stories, "Gereint Son of Erbin." So I've read the whole book now.
If you liked the story of Geraint and Enid, you might be interested in this modern retelling:
The Tip of My Tongue
 

Extollager

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Dask, it's several years since I read any of the first eight stories in The Mabinogion -- where, I suppose, it's generally thought the most important stories are to be found. I mentioned the first four (the "Four Branches") above. The second four stories are "The Dream of Macsin Wledig," "Lludd and Llefelys," "Culhwch and Olwen," and "The Dream of Rhonabwy." The first three of those are ones I read in 1999 and haven't reread, and the last is one I read for the first time in 2012, which is still a while ago.

With that preface, I would say -- for what my remark is, thus, worth -- that, for me, yes, most of the stories certainly were worth reading. I expect I will reread the Four Branches yet again, and reread "Culhwch and Olwen," at least.

The "Three Romances" are the three final stories of the eleven in The Mabinogion, and these I have just read. I'm delving a little into Arthurian materials other than the more essential pieces, and these three can be considered to belong to Arthurian literature. I'm glad to have read them and might reread one or two of them. I didn't greatly like the final one, the Geraint one, partly because Geraint is such an unsympathetic character in the second half, treating his wife so boorishly.

So I do recommend The Mabinogion, and, be it noted, in this translation, which is more complete than the Lady Guest version from the early 1800s. There's a translation by Gantz that, I think, I have seen criticized in some terms that made me disinclined to look it up.

As for the "essential" Arthurian pieces, since I just mentioned that -- for me, that's, first of all, Malory's Morte minus two sections -- the war with Rome material and the Tristram material, which I read (in the Penguin Classics two-volume edition of Caxton's version of Malory) once and don't figure I will read again, and, second, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in Brian Stone's translation). For Malory I have used the one-volume World's Classics edition of the Morte Darthur in the Winchester Manuscript; and not the whole thing, but, to be very specific: 3-80; first paragraph on 95, 118-119, middle of 167 (Gareth and Lancelot); 281-527 (351-372 may be skimmed). This gives you the begetting of Arthur, and the strange figure of Merlin; the unhappy Balin; Nenive and Morgan le Fay; Lancelot and Guinevere, and his madness; the Grail Quest, with Bors, Perceval, and Galahad; Mordred and the destruction of the Round Table fellowship, and Arthur's death or withdrawal into Avalon. I think that's pretty much what really counts, at least for most of us, and omits a great deal of battle-accounts. Either the Penguin version of Caxton (I used an edition from around the 1970s -- they have probably redone it) or the World's Classics edition give you Malory's early modern English with the spelling adjusted for ease of reading. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight seems to me a lovely faerie-tale in (using Brian Stone's translation) very readable verse. I love Tolkien, but don't like his rendering as much as Stone's.

For me, Geoffrey of Monmouth (which I've read, in translation), Layamon (whose Arthurian material I've read in translation) and Wace (not read), are not essential in the same way as Malory and Gawain. On hand I have a lot of other Arthurian material, mostly in Penguin Classics -- Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strassburg, two books attributed to Walter Map, Perlesvaus's High History of the Holy Graal, even Marie of France (who seems to be on the Arthurian margin) -- and I mean to get into some, at least, of it (probably Marie next), but I doubt any of these things will seem to me to rank with the two I've named.

I've restricted my list of Arthurian pieces to medieval works. Beyond that period, there's Shakespeare's contemporary Spenser's Faerie Queene, which has been and is a work I love.Tennyson I've read only a little.

Anyone interested in the Arthurian "Matter" and 20th-century writers (especially Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Martyn Skinner) might take a look at a series now running here:

The Launch of The Inklings and King Arthur

Inklings and Arthur Series Introduction by David Llewellyn Dodds

etc.

My piece on Martyn Skinner's ca 550-page poem The Return of Arthur should appear this Wednesday at the Pilgrim in Narnia blog, and, a few weeks later, a followup on Skinner's Sir Elfadore and Mabyna.
 
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Extollager

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Is there a thread for Arthurian canonical/classic literature here, btw?
 

dask

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Dask, it's several years since I read any of the first eight stories in The Mabinogion -- where, I suppose, it's generally thought the most important stories are to be found. I mentioned the first four (the "Four Branches") above. The second four stories are "The Dream of Macsin Wledig," "Lludd and Llefelys," "Culhwch and Olwen," and "The Dream of Rhonabwy." The first three of those are ones I read in 1999 and haven't reread, and the last is one I read for the first time in 2012, which is still a while ago.

With that preface, I would say -- for what my remark is, thus, worth -- that, for me, yes, most of the stories certainly were worth reading. I expect I will reread the Four Branches yet again, and reread "Culhwch and Olwen," at least.

The "Three Romances" are the three final stories of the eleven in The Mabinogion, and these I have just read. I'm delving a little into Arthurian materials other than the more essential pieces, and these three can be considered to belong to Arthurian literature. I'm glad to have read them and might reread one or two of them. I didn't greatly like the final one, the Geraint one, partly because Geraint is such an unsympathetic character in the second half, treating his wife so boorishly.

So I do recommend The Mabinogion, and, be it noted, in this translation, which is more complete than the Lady Guest version from the early 1800s. There's a translation by Gantz that, I think, I have seen criticized in some terms that made me disinclined to look it up.

As for the "essential" Arthurian pieces, since I just mentioned that -- for me, that's, first of all, Malory's Morte minus two sections -- the war with Rome material and the Tristram material, which I read (in the Penguin Classics two-volume edition of Caxton's version of Malory) once and don't figure I will read again, and, second, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in Brian Stone's translation). For Malory I have used the one-volume World's Classics edition of the Morte Darthur in the Winchester Manuscript; and not the whole thing, but, to be very specific: 3-80; first paragraph on 95, 118-119, middle of 167 (Gareth and Lancelot); 281-527 (351-372 may be skimmed). This gives you the begetting of Arthur, and the strange figure of Merlin; the unhappy Balin; Nenive and Morgan le Fay; Lancelot and Guinevere, and his madness; the Grail Quest, with Bors, Perceval, and Galahad; Mordred and the destruction of the Round Table fellowship, and Arthur's death or withdrawal into Avalon. I think that's pretty much what really counts, at least for most of us, and omits a great deal of battle-accounts. Either the Penguin version of Caxton (I used an edition from around the 1970s -- they have probably redone it) or the World's Classics edition give you Malory's early modern English with the spelling adjusted for ease of reading. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight seems to me a lovely faerie-tale in (using Brian Stone's translation) very readable verse. I love Tolkien, but don't like his rendering as much as Stone's.

For me, Geoffrey of Monmouth (which I've read, in translation), Layamon (whose Arthurian material I've read in translation) and Wace (not read), are not essential in the same way as Malory and Gawain. On hand I have a lot of other Arthurian material, mostly in Penguin Classics -- Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strassburg, two books attributed to Walter Map, Perlesvaus's High History of the Holy Graal, even Marie of France (who seems to be on the Arthurian margin) -- and I mean to get into some, at least, of it (probably Marie next), but I doubt any of these things will seem to me to rank with the two I've named.

I've restricted my list of Arthurian pieces to medieval works. Beyond that period, there's Shakespeare's contemporary Spenser's Faerie Queene, which has been and is a work I love.Tennyson I've read only a little.

Anyone interested in the Arthurian "Matter" and 20th-century writers (especially Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Martyn Skinner) might take a look at a series now running here:

The Launch of The Inklings and King Arthur

Inklings and Arthur Series Introduction by David Llewellyn Dodds

etc.

My piece on Martyn Skinner's ca 550-page poem The Return of Arthur should appear this Wednesday at the Pilgrim in Narnia blog, and, a few weeks later, a followup on Skinner's Sir Elfadore and Mabyna.
Thank you Extollager for the information. I much appreciate the time and effort you put into it. Never been too attracted to the Arthurian arena though I do have the Everyman's Library edition of Arthurian Romances by Chrétien de Troyes and some Arthurian stuff by Mary Stewart. (Enjoyed Disney's The Sword In The Stone as a kid.) The Mabinogion doesn't sound familiar though I might have seen it mentioned somewhere in the past 50 years or so. Seen Malory's book around and thought about picking it up sometime, and maybe will if I come across a good edition at a book sale.
 

Extollager

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You might have heard of Evangeline Walton's four novelizations of the Mabinogion, which appeared in Ballantine's fantasy series -- The Island of the Mighty, The Children of Llyr, The Song of Rhiannon, and Prince of Annwn. At one time they were well-known among fantasy fans, but my sense is that they have dropped out of sight, if not completely out of memory. If you feel like you'd like to have your interested spurred, though, I'd recommend a reading (or would it be a rereading?) of Alan Garner's The Owl Service, which refers specifically to the translation by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones that I have praised. That may well make you feel like you want to look into this medieval Welsh classic.

I read Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave way back in high school, so before mid-1973 -- now that might be a book for the Way, Way Back in Your Reading Life thread, if I returned to it. I remember almost nothing except some incident involving a poisoned peach, and a dream of two dragons fighting -- ?
 

hitmouse

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Havent read the Mary Stewart, but the Two dragons fighting
Probably refers to the Maninogion story of
Lludd a Llefelys, the story of the red and white dragons fighting. The red dragon ended up on the Welsh flag.
 

dask

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If you feel like you'd like to have your interested spurred, though, I'd recommend a reading (or would it be a rereading?) of Alan Garner's The Owl Service

According to my card catalog the only books by Garner I have are The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen and The Moon Of Gomrath. Will keep an eye open for The Owl Service though.
 

Caledfwlch

I am not a Geek, I am a Level 22 Warrior!
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Thank you Extollager for the information. I much appreciate the time and effort you put into it. Never been too attracted to the Arthurian arena though I do have the Everyman's Library edition of Arthurian Romances by Chrétien de Troyes and some Arthurian stuff by Mary Stewart. (Enjoyed Disney's The Sword In The Stone as a kid.) The Mabinogion doesn't sound familiar though I might have seen it mentioned somewhere in the past 50 years or so. Seen Malory's book around and thought about picking it up sometime, and maybe will if I come across a good edition at a book sale.
in 2003, S4C (the Welsh Language Channel, funded by the UK Licence Fee & The Welsh Senate) had a film produced based around the stories of the Mabinogion, called "Y Mabinogi" - in English "Otherworld" (the title Otherworld refers to the ancient Welsh/Briton concept of the realm of "Annwn" literally, the Otherworld we go to upon death, Paradise, a realm ruled by Arawn)

The Edition with an English Language track (& some Welsh with subtitles) is available in full on Youtube. If you have never really encountered, studied or delved into Wales & Welsh Culture, and indeed the language, then the written stories, even in English might be a very weird or strange body of work to dive into, as even in English, the names of people and places are going to seem extremely unusual :D A stereotypical joke you often hear English peoples make is that "the Welsh forgot to invent vowels for their language"
plus whilst essentially based on the Latin Alphabet, Welsh uses a slightly different version, in that it has 28 Letters (2 extra to English), and makes use of some Letters, which are unique to Welsh, such as CH, DD, FF, NG, LL, RH. The other 2 modern languages which like Welsh evolved from "Brythonic" the British Language, Cornish & Breton don't use some letters such as DD, using different standard Latin Letters, & 1 or 2 unique to themselves, Breton for example doesn't use DD. Whilst much of the 3 languages now differ, Cornish being effectively recreated as it died out as a living language, and Breton having the influence of it's neighbouring languages, French and Gallo, plenty of phrases and words apart from spelling differences are still recognisable, and show their roots as having evolved from 1 language, Brythonic.
Flags are a good example, the Breton & Cornish Flags are both Black and White in colouring, and whilst the Cornish Flag is most commonly known as "Saint Piran's Flag" it is also referred to in Cornish as the "Black and White" whilst the Breton Flag is simply in Breton again the Black & White.
And in the three Languages thus, we have: Welsh: Gwyn a Du. Breton: Gwen ha Du. Cornish: An Gwynn ha Du

We Welsh do like to dress posh and stand out, medieval Welsh Long-bowmen and Men at Arms practically stood out as Dandies on battlefields in their proud Green & White clothing, almost an early uniform and our Flag of course, being Welsh also likes to stand out even more against it's competitors Dim! (no) it says, stamping its clawed feet, i'm not some boring Commoner full of sharp lines, angles, and/or Stars, a Cross? Seriously? Do I look like a Peasant? Nah, i'm Y Ddraig Goch y Cymry, the Red Dragon of the Welsh! an Ancient Battle Standard we carried into Battle to defend the Island of the Mighty, since we were still called Britons, that has evolved into a National Flag I shall stand out against all comers and ROAR.
So our flag is a glorious Blood Red Dragon Passant against a field of White and Green :D:D a terrifying symbol that was potentially carried into battle on personal Standards and shields by Britons as early as the 5th century.

Despite how it looks, the Welsh Language is actually generally Phonetic, so once you know how the additional/non English Latin Letters are pronounced, Welsh words are easy to say. My hometown Aberystwyth is ab er IST with. It's based in the County & former Kingdom of Ceredigion kere digean. DD is pronounced like the TH in "the" So the modern County & Former Kingdom of Gwynedd is something like gwin ith - the win being like in twin and again the TH like in the. Also, Gwynedd is up in the Gog Lands (Gog = a person from North Wales, from the Welsh Gogledd, so again, Gog, hard G and og like in bog, Le like in Lent, and dd again, TH of The.
If any children are within your orbit on a regular basis, they might enjoy Otherworld too, as its made for Kids, and if they have not encountered Wales, Land of Myth & Legends (As the Welsh Senate's Tourist Office like to say :D) then it's an excellent way to introduce them. It opens with and is interspaced throughout with live action footage, the conceit is some youngsters visiting a relative are taken on a trip, where they are introduced to some of those Tourist friendly "Myths and Legends" via the stories of the Mabinogion, and each story is then told in animated form. It has some Actors, both Welsh and English who are well known in Britain, and often much further abroad, in the USA etc.

You mention Chrétien de Troyes, there are similarities in parts with the Mab's Arthurian stories to Chretien's, though the Mab also contains material not found in Chretien's work, and nobody knows whether he borrowed from the existing stories that were compiled into the Mab, if whoever compiled the Mab was borrowing from Him, or if both Authors were working from written versions of older tales.


Havent read the Mary Stewart, but the Two dragons fighting
Probably refers to the Maninogion story of
Lludd a Llefelys, the story of the red and white dragons fighting. The red dragon ended up on the Welsh flag.
The Red Dragon was of massive important to us Welsh for a very, very long time, centuries and centuries before it ever got first nailed onto a field of White and Green, and then officially a National Flag :D
And not just because the Westminster Government was only kind enough to "Allow" the Welsh a Flag in 1959, though the design as it is now was used by us for much longer.

One odd thing is that 21st Century Britain in official terms is much kinder to Wales & the Welsh and in protecting its culture, symbols and language than it has ever been, yet the British Army appears to be on a mission to utterly destroy the unique character of certain, often extremely old Regiments and Formations, that have strong ties to the various Home Nations of the United Kingdom, perhaps specifically as some sort of bizarre attempt to remove the individual Home National identity of the Soldiers involved, the pride they derive in being both of that identity and in serving in Defence of the Realm, despite the fact that one of the British Armies Great Strengths has been the way it tied Soldiers into Pride of their Regiments Unique character, its Symbols and Banners, the way both tie into the traditional area Soldiers of a particular Regiment were recruited from, and how it deployed and best used the skills and strengths people of a certain area were reputed to hold.

Thus for example, during the Great War, Soldiers of the 38th Welsh Division proudly wore Red Dragons sewn as Patches on the upper arms of the Uniform, Men of the 9th Scottish Division wore the Red Lion Rampant as on the Scottish Royal Flag first used around the 13th century, against a yellow background, iirc, and Men of the 16th Irish Division wore Green Shamrock's.
Yet in the British Army of 2018, none of the Regiments Named and Recruited for the specific Home Nation they are recruited from bear any such distinction, just a boring Union Flag. I can understand the need to have a Union Flag on an arm or chest, as most foreign soldiers would not necessarily recognise other specific symbols, or their origin, but there is no reason why they cannot wear both the Union Flag, and either their National Flag, or a Symbol such as above. They just seem to be trying to conceive Soldiers who in terms of personal identity are just some bland generic British thing.
It's not like they can claim the symbols and their use are somehow divisive, the British Army has never had such a problem when it has used them, they simply endeared pride in those wearing them, and friendly inter regimental and regional rivalry & competition.

I suppose it wont be long before the individual Regimental Beret badges which are often based on those or similar Home National symbols are also washed away and replaced with a bland Crown & the Regimental name. Maybe the Proud Hackle worn on their Beret by Royal Welsh Fusiliers, or rather the Fusiliers of the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Regiment, or the Hackle worn by certain Scottish Regiments, The Black Watch being one will soon be gone too. Maybe Hackles are divisive and Soldiers in Regiments which don't have an ancient tradition of wearing a Hackle are really jealous, hurt, (Hackled off even? :D) and are made, daily, when stationed with or near a Regiment who do have a Hackle to feel utterly inferior, small, not good enough, and unmanly/unwomanly due to the lack of Hackling.
 

hitmouse

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Diolch. The other thing about Welsh is the word order. Just imagine how Yoda would say a sentence and you have it almost exactly.
 

Extollager

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Caledfwlch, was that Mabinogi/Otherworld cartoon representative of Welsh popular culture? The nudity and sex scenes would earn it an R rating here, I imagine, if it were a theatrical release.
 

Caledfwlch

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Caledfwlch, was that Mabinogi/Otherworld cartoon representative of Welsh popular culture? The nudity and sex scenes would earn it an R rating here, I imagine, if it were a theatrical release.
Oh, the film won't give you much if any insight into Welsh Culture of any sort, beyond a peak at a particular part of its Cultural Legacy and History - The Mab, iirc is considered to be very important as its a very early collection of folk tales/legends/myths/real history partially remembered that has endured into the Modern Age, because someone actually collected those tales and sat down to record them in writing. Welsh/Briton folklore comes from a Culture of Oral Traditions, Tales and Legends being collected passed along between Wandering Bards, their Apprentices and their inspired listeners passing the stories on orally to friends, family, children, so the depths of how much knowledge about our past is missing is truly horrifying, thus on the rare, though as time wore on, and more people became Literate, Monks in Monasteries, or Scholars in Centres of Learning, writing down and recording the knowledge, occasions, the further back we go, the more important those written recordings become. In past Times, when children would learn the tales and traditions of their family, their people, village, realm, and culture at the knees of their parents and grandparents, the living link could easily be broken, every attack on a population centre, large and small, an accident, war, plague or famine lessens the knowledge and understanding of a people when it's an Oral tradition.

Look how little we know about the Druids of ancient Britannia and Ireland - it is generally believed that Druids were generally Literate, but Doctrine prohibited them from writing down their knowledge, their secrets, the stories, tales and Histories, both ancient and things that happened the week before, I am not sure if it is known for certain why this Prohibition existed, but I believe a popularly held reason is that Writing was a gift of the Gods, and thus only the Gods, or one Chosen by the Gods were allowed to write. And if you believe yourself, or are believed by your peers to have been chosen by the Gods, your not going to waste your time writing down old wives tales, or "gossip" such as when you watched that cool King Arthur guy take a mortal blow, or indeed anything he ever did, an utter waste of such a divine gift :D

I think it is very easy to Argue that there is no modern popular "Welsh Culture" but several, due to various historical events, the peoples of the various Regions of Wales can be, or seem to be wildly different, but of course, as different as we can be, as divided as we can sometimes seem to be, we are still united by much more.
The daily life, traditions, social, cultural and otherwise for example, of a person living in the Coal Mining (or these days former Coal Mining) towns and villages of "the Valleys" is very different to the life of someone from, for example my home region of Ceredigion, a wild, and remote rural area, bordered to the West by Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea, who's largest population centre (my hometown of Aberystwyth) only has 16,000 people, there are only 5 other towns in the County, and none of them, including the Shire town, Aberteifi (Cardigan) has a permanent population of more than 4000 people, and then the people of the somewhat similar to Ceredigion, County of Pembrokeshire, which again is predomidantly Rural, but with a collection of towns, and 2 sea Ports vital to trade in Wales & the UK, such as the Oil Refinery Port of Milford Haven, none of which can match the population of Aberystwyth, but which are generally a fair bit larger than the other 5 towns of Ceredigion, the people of the heavily urbanised and industrialised Strip along the South Wales Coast, including the capital City, and 2 other cities, or the County of Gwynedd, a predomidantly rural place dominated by the Snowdonia Mountain Range, and their Giant centrepiece, Mount Snowdon,and a good handful of towns, large and small, and a City can be radically different.

Pembrokeshire for example was the part of Wales most heavily colonised by the Normans/English. Despite being as far from England in Wales as you can get without having to stand in the Irish Sea, it long held the nickname "Little England beyond Wales" I cannot remember if the Normans/English employed the more horrific war crime side of colonisation, mass murder and forced relocation/eviction of the locals, but they certainly employed the tactic of out populating the native population, bringing in English and Flemish Colonists in numbers so hugely significant, they dwarfed the native populace, to make it a haven safe for the Colonists from being attacked, or to them, even worse, having to share resources such as food, fresh water, and (employ Norman Shudder) have those Welsh Creatures living next door, or rubbing shoulders with you as they pass in the street, or tavern..

That Colonisation is still evident in certain ways thanks to the use of what I suppose you could call Apartheid - in the whole of Wales, the Welsh would be second class citizens in their own country for centuries and centuries to come - Castle Towns like my Aberystwyth used repressive laws Prohibiting Welsh people from living within the town walls for example, the list of oppression and repressive and oppressive laws in medieval times would probably take hours to properly list and explain!

A Map of Ceredigion or Gwynedd features an endless barrage of Welsh names, part of the Trio of Counties who form what some unfairly call Welsh Wales (the people of the Rhondda, Powys, or Deeside are just as Welsh) the Trio is comprised of, Ceredigion, Sir Gaerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire) and Gwynedd form a tract of land that Stretches from the Southern Welsh coast overlooking the Bristol Channel in the South all the way to the Northern Coast of North Wales overlooking the section of the Irish Sea that crosses the top of Wales, and to the West, the Irish Sea located Cardigan Bay, and the Menai Straits (Except for Pembrokeshire which is the County West of Carmarthenshire and South of Ceredigion.

The Trio are the parts of Wales most heavily Welsh speaking, and outside of parts of Cardiff and its city centre, to where people of course from all over Wales move to live and work, as its the Capital, so your quite likely to hear Welsh being spoken on the Streets there, Swansea too, to some decree as its right next to Sir Gaerfyrddin, and the higher percentage of Welsh speakers of that County doesnt suddenly stop at the eastern county border with the City and outskirt regions of Swansea, it is in the Trio that you will hear Welsh being spoken all over in the streets, in the shops etc
And in the Trio, you will also see many, in Ceredigion & Gwynedd perhaps even the majority of Heddlu (Police) Constables on duty working and chatting in Welsh, to each other, to members of the public, and even on their Radios, in Aberystwyth certainly, you will hear Welsh as frequently, possibly even more frequently than English on Police Radios, if your standing near Constables, or patrol cars.

And whilst the Trio themselves do have a few English Place names used by some, these actually tend to be Anglicised versions of the Welsh place names, for example in Ceredigion, the Shire Town, Aberteifi is oft referred to instead as Cardigan, and the town of Llanbedr Pont Steffan as Lampeter - these are not actual English translations of the names however, but were created by Norman/English Invaders, then Conquerors and Masters mispronouncing the Welsh - Cardigan is a Norman's attempt to pronounce Ceredigion, hence the old Shire (an old form of County) being called Cardiganshire, and it's Shire town, Cardigan. Lampeter is your same Norman attempting to pronouncing Llanbedr, and being so lazy he can't even be bothered with the "Pont Steffan" (the full name actually translates as Bedr's Church, Stephens Bridge)

Pembrokeshire however has lots of English Place names, which utterly replaced whatever names may have been in use under Welsh hands, in places where there had been some sort of settlement prior to the Normans arrival, the original names long forgotten.
So you get towns & Villages with names like, Fishguard, Saundersfoot, Marloes, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest (it's not known for sure, but its commonly believed this town name is a corruption/contraction of "Hertfordshire in the West") Tenby, Wiston, Letterston, Rosebush, Manorbier, Spittal. In the last 3 or 4 decades when Welsh finally began getting official recognition and protection from the British Government in London, long before devolution and the Welsh Senate came into being, in Cardiff, Officials had the fun job of working with linquistic academics and Welsh experts in coming up with Welsh versions of the English place names.

The other most obvious sign of the Norman's Colonisation is that in Southern Pembrokeshire, especially in towns like Haverfordwest, the local people don't speak with a Welsh accent, but with a West Country English accent, though more like the lighter accent of Herefordshire/Worcestershire than the heavier accents of Somerset or Cornwall!!
The only way to identify a South Pembs person when speaking, is that they generally will pronounce any Welsh words that come up in conversation perfectly - they may have a weird and startling accent, but they are Welsh, and as Proud of the fact, and Loyal to the Red Dragon as any native of Aberystwyth, Porthmadog, Bangor or Caernarfon :D:D
Incidentally, In North East Wales, in places like Wrecsam (Wrexham) the people also speak with an English Accent, but again with perfect pronounciation of Welsh, specifically they speak with a variation of the Scouse Accent (that of the English City of Liverpool and Merseyside/Birkenhead)
When you get further West into North West Wales, they speak with the very distinctive nasal "Gog" Accent (nickname for North Walians, from the Welsh for North, Gogledd) the North Walian accent is very different to that of Ceredigion, and very, very different to that of the South Wales Valleys.

So it's very hard to claim anything as being Welsh popular Culture, in the sense that the peoples are so very different based on various Historical reasons. We people of North Ceredigion and the entirety of North Wales also takes a very great pride in the fact that we were so Rebellious, so difficult to defeat, and literally rebelling against English rule every few weeks or months, that Edward Longshanks (King Edward 1st) was forced to build the Ring of Iron, a ruinously expensive circle of Castles, and in many cases, we aren't talking little castles, but massive fortresses, absolute pinnacles of Medieval Castle Construction at its very best, built with and displaying what at the time was the very latest and best cutting edge technology in Fortress Construction :D:D:D. I think if you translated the cost of building the Ring of Iron into modern money, we would be talking multiple billions of pounds!!

Equally, the output of S4C, the Welsh Language TV Channel is arguably only representing some very narrow bandwidths of peoples, the Welsh Speaking Middle Class of North & South Wales, especially the cities with a side helping of stuff to do with Farming & Rural stuff, for the Rural Peasants in the Trio of Counties. And it's all being written and told by that Welsh speaking middle class, it's basically the Welsh Language version of the Sharp Elbowed Middle Classes that you see reflected in the Home Counties & London dominated Britain wide TV channels, for much of their output everybody talks a certain way, subscribes to a certain set of political beliefs, fashions and so on. Like in Shows about families whether sitcom or more serious, unless the production team are working some serious angle on working class life, the families are generic Home Counties Middle class, more middle middle, than lower middle usually, with generic passionless Received Pronunciation accents, they live in large comfortable houses that dwarf those lived in by most British people, Mother and Father have generic upper MC Professional jobs, the kids bedrooms have more toys and posessions than most 1 or 2 British Kids will receive in their entire childhood, they just bring out the Richard Curtis rose tinted camera lens and portray "Ordinary stories" about "ordinary people" that most Brits simply wouldn't recognise, because the producers are so elitist they are desparate to prove and show they aren't elitist. S4C is like that, but it's all in Welsh. Then, over at BBC Wales, you have exactly the same, but with the language in English and generic South Wales accents, carefully airbrushed to remove any regional variation or "common" stuff like Wenglish phrases, except for certain caricatures. (Wenglish referrs to how working class Welsh people speak in English, whether its words unique to Wales, such as Daps, words or phrases that mix welsh with english, or are proper welsh words/expressions, but even non Welsh speaking Welsh people use, like "uchafi" (which means ewww basically, like eww, I just stepped in dog poo) or the way we Welsh people, even if a person doesn't speak Welsh essentially apply Welsh Grammar to the English language. typical Wenglish phrases can be
"Who's coats that Jacket?"
"Where to are you going?"
"I to go over there, is it?"
"duw, lookyou Owain, you just got dog poo on your daps! achyfi butt."
Owain replies with a nasty comment about the paternity of your father
"sake man, talk tidy to me, isn't it, butt'"

Like, butt, the one phrase that drives English people rabidly insane as the English Brain apparantly simply cannot comprehend it, their ordered anglo saxon mind simply cannot discern any logic from it, its also too vague for them, and they cannot believe that between Welsh people it's meaning and intent is completely understood, that it's considered a perfectly sensible thing to say :D:D:D:D
I spent 5 years living in Yorkshire with my ex Fiance who was a Yorkshire Lass, and even 4 and a half years into the relationship, this phrase would send her wild, screaming, eating the carpets crazy with annoyance!! :ROFLMAO:
Typical conversation between me and Emmy that would happen, with enough frequency that you would think the poor Chick would simply give in and ignore it rather than torture her ordered English mind.

Emmy: Burble burble burble (I can't hear, im listening to something on tv
Me : "whats that lovely?"
Em: "as I were saying, did yer hear that? sure I heard summat owt in the Ginnel" (Ginnel is Yorks for alley)
Me: "Nah, prob next door banging his daps out on the doorstep again, "
Emmy: "Fair nuff, Babes, im reet knackered, A'm going't Bed now, you cooming oop too?, I wan a snuggle before sleeps"
Me "aye chick, be up in a moment, just gonna feed the cats and check my email"
Em "K babes, loves ya" shuffles off "oopstairs"
10 mins later, I'm still sat in chair nice n sleepy . stroking 1 of the cats who is purring, despite still unfed
Em "Babes, hurry up, I want snuggles!!"
and here it is, the line that can cause English Minds to go into Conniptions whatever they are.
Me "not long, I'll be there now in a minute butt"
Em "Oh for..." a swearing outburst that quite frankly is shocking for a lass her age at the time" (she was 18 and I 27 when we got together)
Em "what the bloody 'ell does it even mean for gods sake? wtf? seriously! more swearing about the stupidity of being with crazy welshmen"

:D:D Genuinely that phrase makes perfect sense to me, it does what it says on the tin, I will be with her now, in a minute

Regarding the nudity etc in Y Mabinogi - the British Board of Film Censors gave it a 12 Rating, which means its suitable for children of 12 years old and older.
 

Extollager

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Aug 21, 2010
Messages
6,277
Just about to finish the Penguin Classic edition -- that'd be, the old Penguin Classic edition -- of Ivan Turgenev's Sketches from a Hunter's Album.

This book contains one of my favorite short stories of all time, here translated as "Bezhin Lea," but familiar to me as "Bezhin Meadows," as found in a collection I stumbled across probably in high school.


I seem to have read most of the Sketches in Dec. 1996, but evidently somehow didn't read "Death," "Singers," and "Clatter of Wheels."
 

Randy M.

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Mar 7, 2012
Messages
1,425
Last night I finished Shock I by Richard Matheson, a collection bought new when it was reissued by Berkley Books in 1979. I've read from it intermittently for years and decided last month I should just finish it.



Among others it contains "Death Ship" which was adapted to the original Twilight Zone and "The Distributor" which still carries a powerful kick, a nasty little horror story in which any gore is implied, not described.

Randy M.
 
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Extollager

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Aug 21, 2010
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Almost 40 years to finish a reading, Randy! It's fun to read here about such exploits.

I'm currently reading Bradbury's Illustrated Man. I've no doubt that I had a copy many years ago and read some of the stories then, but I'm not sure that I will have read the whole book till I finish this current reading that I started some weeks ago.

My reading of Malory's Morte d'Arthur in the Penguin Classics two-volume edition (Caxton's) started in June 1980. I finished it 18 Aug. 2003.

I think I started reading C. S. Lewis's English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama, in 1982 or 1983. I finished it on the 12th April 2017 -- having, however, read portions of it twice or more times.

Let's hear from others who took many years to complete a first reading of some book.
 

Extollager

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Aug 21, 2010
Messages
6,277
I've started reading King Harald's Saga, a Penguin Classic that I bought on 6 Sept. 1970, which was thus one of the first books I ever bought whose date of purchase I wrote in it, but have never read through till now.



I'm very fond of that look of the Penguin Classics!

There's a blurb for a current edition:

This compelling Icelandic history describes the life of King Harald Hardradi, from his battles across Europe and Russia to his final assault on England in 1066, less than three weeks before the invasion of William the Conqueror. It was a battle that led to his death and marked the end of an era in which Europe had been dominated by the threat of Scandinavian forces. Despite England's triumph, it also played a crucial part in fatally weakening the English army immediately prior to the Norman Conquest, changing the course of history. Taken from the Heimskringla—Snorri Sturluson's complete account of Norway from prehistoric times to 1177—this is a brilliantly human depiction of the turbulent life and savage death of the last great Norse warrior-king.
 
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