A Celtic Miscellany * Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson (trans.) (isbn 0140442472)

Here we haven an anthology of Celtic literature. Jackson made a bunch of subjects in which quotes from Celtic literature are put. This literature varries from seventh to the eighteenth century and from all Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton literature. The subjects are hero-tale and adventure, nature, love, epigram, ‘celtic magic’, description, humour and satire, bardic poetry, elegy and religion. The quotes can be a few lines, but also several pages. The nice thing about a book like this, is that you get a lot of Celtic literature so you will have a good idea of the styles and forms of Celtic literature after reading this book. But the book only gives the sources of the quotes as “Irish; traditional folk song”, “Welsh; traditional verse; seventeenth century?” or in the best case “Welsh englyn; David Jones of Llangwyfen; eighteenth century.” I don’t think this is enough information to find the text where the quotes are taken from.
Then a personal note. Celtic literature can sometimes be very beautiful with fantasyfull descriptions and dreamy ways of putting things, but I find that very often this style is very tiring and even boring. Some sections of the book I read through very quickly, others at a more modest pace. It is quite strange to see how even in very early texts there are already many references to Christianity, but of course, the Celtic islands embraced Christianity pretty early in history.
A nice book to read some time, but don’t expect too much of it.

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