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julianmeynell

Julian Meynell's Books

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Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Early Irish Myths and Sagas - Jeffrey Gantz, Various

This is a hard book to rate.  The stories contained with in it are often poorly written and confused, but this is not really the translator's fault.  Instead, what we have here are traditional myths and folktales that have been written down very poorly by people of no talent and indifferent commitment.  The translator, Jeffrey Gantz, does the best that he can, but he translates and does not interpolate, so the flaws of the originals remain the same.  That is the right choice, in my opinion.  But that means that the stories are kind of a mess.  On the other hand, they are remarkably uncorrupted by Christianity and in many ways reflective of an iron age lifestyle (Battles are small, they use chariots, cattle raids are a main, if not the main, point of conflict).  So one does get a valuable insight into the Celtic mind, and a Celtic mind barely affected by classical civilization.  So it is must reading for anyone interested in the ancient Celts, but it lacks all merit as storytelling, so decide where your priorities lie before reading.