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 Tales of Myth and Legend

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 14:44

One of the great advantages of the modern digital age is the ability to read on computer the classic tales from the past. So, for anyone with an hour or two to spare, here are three of the great tales of medieval Europe;

The Mabinogion;

http://www.mabinogion.info/


The Song of Roland;

http://omacl.org/Roland/

and Malory's Morte d'Arthur;

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1251/1251-h/1251-h.htm

Please add any others you may wish.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 15:20

This will save a bit of time;

http://omacl.org/title.html
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 15:30

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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 16:42

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/eog/

No prizes for guessing what THIS one is.

Aside : A note regarding the translator : Oxford trained Thompson (1876-1941), was an Assyriologist associated with the British Museum. He was a teacher both of T.E. Lawrence and Max Mallowan, husband of Agatha Cristie. He excavated at Ur, Ninevah and Carchemish.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 17:25

Thanks for these, both Trike and Gilgamesh.  Is the Malory one a "Project Gutenberg" file?  I did get a translation of the "Morte d'Arthur" from the public library many years ago but it was terribly "dry".  It does help if the style of a translation (provided it has not taken too many liberties, i.e. translated the source too loosely) is at least half way to being interesting.  I may not be able to read them just yet though.


Last edited by LadyinRetirement on Wed 07 May 2014, 17:49; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To correct a word.)
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 07 May 2014, 17:32

You'd probably be better off, LiR, if you got a less literal "Gilgamesh". That one is almost verbatim, a crib rather than a literary epic. Others use additional sources, such as the Babylonian and Hurrian recensions, to "fill in" the lacunae.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 08:21

One of the great prototypical romances from which others such as "Lancelot and Guinevere" and "Tristan and Isolde" drew heavily - An Tóraíocht Diarmuid agus Gráinne (The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne) - from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. It's remarkable also in that the main hero of Fenian myth, Fionn Mac Cúmhaill (Finn Mac Cool), plays a major role as a right bastard throughout the whole narrative.

The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne

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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 09:08

And another one from the Fenian Cycle that I've always enjoyed - "Bodach na Chóta Lachtna" (The Clown in the Drab Coat). It operates at several levels, as a cautionary tale concerning misplaced pride and vanity, as an exciting story based on the thrill of the chase, and of course as a vehicle for emphasising Fionn Mac Cumhaill's thumb-sucking wisdom, though in this one Fionn is rather a bit player.

Bodach na Chóta Lachtna (One of the tales on the index)


Last edited by nordmann on Thu 08 May 2014, 12:16; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Fixed link)
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 10:20

Sorry Nordmann, cannot get that link to work.

I'm debating with myself whether or not to post MacPherson's "Ossian"
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 10:23

The richness of your Irish heritage, nordmann - as indeed is that of the Scots and Welsh likewise- is really quite enviable; like still deep pools whereas the English have only so the shallower  restless waves of layered influences.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 10:44

Triceratops wrote:
Sorry Nordmann, cannot get that link to work.

I'm debating with myself whether or not to post MacPherson's "Ossian"
Like Trike, I can't get the second one to work - though the first one does.  Is Grainne a common Irish name?  The Grainne I know of is Grainne Ni Mhaile (Grace O'Malley).  I've wondered was she really a pirate or was that just the English trying to discredit her?  Will definitely read through these gems when I have the time (which I don't today unfortunately).  Just "taking five" on Res Historica as a short break during a very boring piece of transcription.


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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 12:15

Gráinne is still a popular name for girls in Ireland. It's anglicised as "Grace" but that's only because of the first three letters. Actually it means either "product of love" or "provider of love", both of which are really sweet names for a new baby.

Gráinne Mhaol was a pirate in the sense that Raleigh and Drake were pirates - though her targets were a bit more indiscriminate and included English shipping, hence the "pirate" bit. She is one of history's most astounding women - the problem with separating the apocrypha from reality in tales about her is that they are equally fantastic.

I've changed the link above so that it comes in on an index page from which you can access the clown story amongst others.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 08 May 2014, 12:21

Here's one we all learnt as children in Ireland. It doesn't fit into any myth cycle but is believed to be even more ancient than the Fenian or Ulster cycle heroic myths involving Fionn Mac Cumhaill or Cú Chulainn. Shakespeare borrowed the king's name, as did others in completely different stories around Europe but this one appears to be the daddy of them all.

The Children of Lír


The Oisín Kelly statue of the children in Dublin's memorial gardens, commemorating the 1916 Rising dead. QEII paid a vist here on her recent sojourn to Ireland.


And Oisín Kelly's Cú Chulainn statue in Dublin's GPO

One of Cú Chulainn's more famous appearances in myth is as a champion in the Táin Bó Cúailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), Ireland's answer to Homer's Troy and Odyssey stories as it touches base in almost every aspect to mythology, blending history with elements from various cycles in one great adventure. Incidentally it also features as main character another fantastic woman (though in Medbh's case she is in all likelihood complete fantasy, even if there many who claim she must be based on a real Queen).

Táin Bó Cúailgne
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 03 Jul 2014, 12:43

I wonder if there is any chance of one or more of the magnificent tales mentioned in this thread making their way on to the "haunted fish tank", though maybe I should not wish for that given the present day propensity to want to change source material when adapting for the small (or large) screen.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Wed 09 Jul 2014, 15:05

LadyinRetirement wrote:
I wonder if there is any chance of one or more of the magnificent tales mentioned in this thread making their way on to the "haunted fish tank", though maybe I should not wish for that given the present day propensity to want to change source material when adapting for the small (or large) screen.

 One of the characters in Nordmann's "Bodach" tale is called Conan. A name which must surely have been borrowed by Robert E Howard for his Conan tales.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 10 Jul 2014, 10:18

The artist Jim Fitzpatrick has worked for forty years or more presenting old Irish legend as apt material for modern-day marketable storylines - be it as comic book or even film. It amazes me that no one has yet seen the huge potential here - especially given the popularity of the poor quality narratives based on the pilfered bits.

Here is his portrait of Nuada Airgedlámh (Nuada of the Silver Arm). Tolkien was also fascinated by this character and made a good stab at tracing the linguistic roots of the name and where he popped up in other Celtic legends around Britain. His Aragorn character makes more than a little nod in Nuada's direction.



Jim Fitzpatrick's work - for any comic book illustration enthusiasts - is highly collectable stuff. The Nuada stories he wrote and illustrated were serialised in a Sunday newspaper in Ireland in the 70s in the obvious hope that they could be syndicated. Alas it was not to be.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Fri 11 Jul 2014, 10:56

nordmann wrote:
The artist Jim Fitzpatrick has worked for forty years or more presenting old Irish legend as apt material for modern-day marketable storylines - be it as comic book or even film. It amazes me that no one has yet seen the huge potential here - especially given the popularity of the poor quality narratives based on the pilfered bits.
Are you referring to poor quality narratives "filched" from Jim Fitzpatrick's work (which I must admit going from the example you post is splendid) or "pilfered bits" from Irish legend, or myths, generally, Nordmann?  Sorry if I am revealing myself as a sometime low-brow person here but I rather liked American singer Stevie Nicks' song about "Rhiannon" from the "Mabinoggian" {yes I know that's Welsh, not Irish}.  The BBC's version of "Atlantis" last year was manky - sort of slicing up the cake of the Greek myths and shoving them together piecemeal to re-tell the story.  (I don't want to sound like a worn out record and have posted on other threads about the modern trend of taking source material and playing fast and loose with it).  I quite liked the "Conan the Barbarian" film with "Arnie" and actually had not realised it was inspired by a novel.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Fri 11 Jul 2014, 11:51

Myths and legends are there to be plundered - it's probably how they themselves came to be composed originally anyway. However some plundering ends up with an end-product inferior to the legend plundered. Particularly galling is when someone nicks just a name because it sounds cool and then ignores any debt to the source at all. Conan the Austrian Bodybuilder isn't a patch on Conan the Fenian warrior - but who's to know these days?
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Fri 11 Jul 2014, 13:54

Incidentally, LiR, I have heard it said that the Dream of Macsen Wledig (Magnus Maximus) from the Mabinogi anthology is the only myth/legend we know of from anywhere in the world that has a Roman emperor (albeit one who failed to press his claim as emperor) as its hero. In fact myths/legends featuring Roman or Romanised characters are extremely thin on the ground outside of religious tradition. Given how long Rome lasted and how many cultures it affected while it was there, and indeed how many of these cultures were myth factories at the time, this is a truly remarkable thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sat 12 Jul 2014, 17:16

Oh thanks for the information, Nordmann.  I shall have to try and catch up on Fenian Conan sometime. I thought Arnie made a better barbarian than he did a robot (as in "Terminator"), though it ("Conan") was a film I caught on TV once and just watched; I didn't go out of my way to watch it.  There may be some folk who like every TV programme they watch to be a cerebral challenge but I don't mind being just entertained occasionally. I haven't seen the films with the characters allegedly called "Loki" and "Thor" which have made their ways to the cinema of recent years, but, hey, if one of them turned up on the goggle-box on a wet Sunday afternoon I'm not saying I wouldn't watch it.  Roman emperors are often the bad hats in fiction are they not?  Not in "I, Claudius" which I liked way back when even if it did have wobbly scenery.  I don't remember "Spartacus" awfully well if I'm honest but I do believe the slaves were the "goodies" in Spartacus (the film from way back, not the TV show).  They were the goodies in the TV show also but the show was a bit silly - okay if you watched it for amusement rather than factual history.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sat 12 Jul 2014, 17:45

The Fianna legends are complicated affairs - there are no out and out heroes or villains as such, simply characters who seem to take turns propelling events. This is probably why they haven't generally lent themselves to adaptation to more modern standards of "sellable" narratives. However the themes most often tackled - honour, courage, fate etc - are universal and better treated in Irish legend than in many other myth cycles, if only because so many variations and alternative legends based on the same theme survived to be written down. It seems to have helped keep them fresh, as it were, and not become atrophied husks of what they once were (my opinion of the post-Norman treatment of Arthur).

Speaking of Arthur - I suppose he could also be classed as a "Roman" mythical hero in a sense. That's two then - and both with Welsh roots as stories. Hmmmm.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sat 12 Jul 2014, 19:16

nordmann wrote:
The Fianna legends are complicated affairs - there are no out and out heroes or villains as such, simply characters who seem to take turns propelling events. This is probably why they haven't generally lent themselves to adaptation to more modern standards of "sellable" narratives.


Which is an interesting comment since I believe 'Game of Thrones', at least the original books as written be George RR Martin, was deliberately written without any long-term character narrative. That is, the characters arrive, feature and maybe even take centre stage for a bit, but then often get killed off or just slip into obscurity. The characters are also presented as multi-faceted, with complex pasts, aspirations and ambitions, faults and fears  ... and so it is never simply a tale of "good versus evil".

.... As in real life, hence I guess its appeal, although I'll admit I have never read or watched any of "Game of Thrones".

Apparently Martin took a lot of inspiration from Maurice Druon's seven historical novels (which grouped together are usually known as "Les Rois Maudits" - The Accursed Kings) which are based on the calamitous reigns of the last five direct Capetian kings of France and the first two Valois Kings. That's a great classic of French literature and I believe it has just been reissued in a new English language version. I really must order a copy.


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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sat 12 Jul 2014, 19:36

Gosh that's a thought-provoking remark, MM.  I must admit I have been guilty of being sucked in by the juggernaut which is "Game of Thrones", though I don't have Sky so being able to watch it depends on whether I can inveigle a friend to invite me round to watch.....The books, which I caught up on because I couldn't wait a whole year to find out the rest of the story (although the books are unfinished and going by the author's pace of writing are likely to take some considerable time to finish) are told by turns from the points of view of different characters (though in the third person not the first person). There are some characters who are there at the beginning of the tale and are still there at the end of the fifth book (so far five books of the series having been published). I now want to know how the tale ends. Some members of the GRR Martin fandom are extreme - you would think there had never been a story that had characters who were neither wholly good nor wholly bad before Mr Martin put pen to paper - or finger to computer keyboard. I know Nordmann likes to take the "p" out of "Willie Wobbleweapon" but many of his plays have flawed heroes and heroines.  I enjoyed "Les Rois Maudits" many years ago though the seventh book in the series had not been written then and I have never caught up with that one.  I have read one historian saying "Les Rois Maudits" takes some historical liberties though.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 08:40

Meles meles wrote:
Which is an interesting comment since I believe 'Game of Thrones', at least the original books as written be George RR Martin, was deliberately written without any long-term character narrative. That is, the characters arrive, feature and maybe even take centre stage for a bit, but then often get killed off or just slip into obscurity. The characters are also presented as multi-faceted, with complex pasts, aspirations and ambitions, faults and fears  ... and so it is never simply a tale of "good versus evil".

I know nothing at all about Martin's writing but if he has succeeded in emulating the narrative structure of Irish myth and produced best-sellers in the process then fair play to him. James Joyce, amongst others, have preceded him in the attempt and while some of their efforts have indeed sold well I would still classify the bulk of their output as more critically acclaimed than popular, and almost all have been intended to be experienced as "modern" in their style, even by their authors, rather than as part of an ancient tradition of narrative. I have however seen some episodes of the TV version of Martin's opus and I can only say that I see little if anything remaining from this literary inspiration in the product as presented dramatically.

The idea of a "flawed" hero interests me, LiR. The phrase actually only really makes sense in the context of what we might think of as the chivalric hero, a genre of heroic literature that flourished across Europe in an era of political consolidation and the emergence of a relatively homogenous and surprisingly small ruling elite which wielded very close to absolute power and quite naturally gravitated quickly towards formulating rules of conduct, codes of behaviour etc, through which they could cohese. Amongst the many paraphernalia adopted to encourage this process, help define a common self-identity and even to give the illusion of a history to this process far older than in reality existed, myths and legends (amongst other literary devices) were recruited to the cause.

In this the literary "hero" as the epitome of an ideal (especially an ideal beloved of this political and social elite) emerged. New ones were concocted but in the main they were rehashed versions of existing lead characters, now placed in versions of the narrative, or even completely new narratives, that provided a better context by which these ideals could be represented through the hero's actions. However this strict manipulation of context is not a useful tool at all if one is trying to depict a more realistic or humane character with which an audience can closer identify or empathise - as Shakespeare was attempting - and so even long before the Bard of Avon's output the "flawed" hero had emerged and enjoyed already a long tradition in European literature.

However if you try to impose this concept of "flawness" on the characters of legend and traditional narrative from before this stylistic revolution in the middle ages you quickly come a cropper - so great and numerous are the flaws and so little the embodiment of moralistic or spiritual ideal present in the main characters who populate the stories. Amorality abounds and in fact is very much the norm. Characters around whom whole epics are centered behave as reprehensibly (in the sense of more modern morality) as they do "heroically". The audience is not encouraged - or even expected - to view them in that light either. Flaws of reasoning or judgement are ever-present in the stories but they are not there to aid you as listener (and these were fundamentally oral narratives) in a moral assessment of the protagonist. They are often not even presented as flaws at all - simply facets of human behaviour which are present to such an extent in us all that they almost go without saying. No explanation necessary so none provided.

Fionn Mac Cumhaill (like Odysseus or Oedipus in more widely known myth) is attributed so many character traits if one looks at every story in which he figures that he becomes so self-contradictory and capable of thoughts and actions polarly opposed to each other from one story to the next (even from one chapter or stanza to the next) that he would never have made it past Shakespeare's wastepaper basket, and would definitely never make it past a TV production company's initial assessment of a treatment presentation.

And yet - as a multi-flawed character with multiple personalities - his type of hero tells us much about the society that invented him, and the stories weaved around him even more. His contemporaries were not aware that he was "part of a myth cycle" or even aware probably that in other areas, or at other times, quite different tales about him were or would become the popular ones. Viewed as a composite from all these places and times he becomes diffuse in nature, but to original audiences he was anything but. In a sense he represented nature itself, be it human nature, the nature of the divine, or sometimes even how prone to breakdown and explosion any natural order in things actually is. He is truly universal. He is life itself.

I would not expect Hollywood to jump at the chance to commission a film that could even hope to begin to encapsulate, let alone impart, this version of "hero". However as protagonist he became a vehicle through which storytellers, surrounding him with other characters and events, could explore almost any aspect of life. Examples of this are so numerous that even a lifetime's study by one individual of what is known as the Southern Cycle of Irish mythology might not reveal them all. However I can think of none from which a modern narrative could not be derived in popular format. And it is amazing that this particular myth cycle has yet to be properly mined (as many others have) by those whose business it is to re-tell them.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 16:59

I think Mr Martin has based his saga on history from many nations, Nordmann.  The "flawed" Shakespearean hero, I must confess is a concept we were taught at school (Macbeth being basically decent but letting himself be overtaken by ambition for example).  I think Mr Martin is quite a "smart cookie" to have created his fictional world in a fantasy land because that way if he takes a historic happening as inspiration but slightly changes it nobody can accuse him of attempting to pass off fiction as fact, because he is open from the start that his work is fictional.  My point was really that he is not the only writer to have written about "grey" characters and it gets on my wick that some folk think he is, though I admit I do like his story.  It is true that it is not a simple tale of good -v- bad.  Fandoms can be scary (as I discovered once when making a simple off-the-cuff remark about not liking Mrs PG's novels very much)..............


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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 18:14

Well Martin is a writer of fantasy so he's not likely to get accused of passing off fiction as fact, but as you say LIR, he is certainly not the only author to use flawed heroes. Although I did enjoy Martin's books and await the next installment, imo, there is another who surpasses the GRR Martin series. And what is interesting about Steven Erikson's The Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is that not only are the heroes flawed but that Erikson is an Archaeologist and an Anthropologist (Martin is a Journalist I believe?) and as such adds far more depth, not only to the characters but to the history.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 18:42

When the hero is all flaws and little else, that's when the tale ventures either into the area of accurate biography about actual people or into full-blown Fionn Mac Cumhaill territory. We in Ireland have tended to leave those mono- or partly flawed inventions to Greek tragedians and Shakespeare.

As Kavanagh had Homer's ghost whisper in his poem "The Epic"; "I made the Iliad from such a local row. Gods make their own importance!".
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 20:51

Islanddawn wrote:
Well Martin is a writer of fantasy so he's not likely to get accused of passing off fiction as fact, but as you say LIR, he is certainly not the only author to use flawed heroes. Although I did enjoy Martin's books and await the next installment, imo, there is another who surpasses the GRR Martin series. And what is interesting about Steven Erikson's The Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is that not only are the heroes flawed but that Erikson is an Archaeologist and an Anthropologist (Martin is a Journalist I believe?) and as such adds far more depth, not only to the characters but to the history.

I believe before he decided to devote himself to his novels, Mr Martin was a writer for TV programmes, ID.  He may have been a journalist before that, I'm not sure.  He was part of the team who wrote the 1980s version of the American "Beauty and the Beast" series.  There is a more recent series (American I believe) called "Beauty and the Beast" but I don't know whether it's a re-make of the 1980s series or a whole new kettle of fish.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 14 Jul 2014, 09:28

Meles meles wrote:
nordmann wrote:
The Fianna legends are complicated affairs - there are no out and out heroes or villains as such, simply characters who seem to take turns propelling events. This is probably why they haven't generally lent themselves to adaptation to more modern standards of "sellable" narratives.

.... As in real life, hence I guess its appeal, although I'll admit I have never read or watched any of "Game of Thrones".

Apparently Martin took a lot of inspiration from Maurice Druon's seven historical novels (which grouped together are usually known as "Les Rois Maudits" - The Accursed Kings) which are based on the calamitous reigns of the last five direct Capetian kings of France and the first two Valois Kings. That's a great classic of French literature and I believe it has just been reissued in a new English language version. I really must order a copy.


There is a version on youtube:



EDIT: replaced vanished youtube.


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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 14 Jul 2014, 09:45

Thanks Trike, that's the old fondly remembered 1970s production, complete with wobbly sets, no outdoor scenes, few extras and a very limited wardrobe. As a schoolboy I learned a lot of very rude French from that.

There's also a 2005 French TV version staring Jeanne Moreau, Philippe Torreton, Gérard Depardieu and other well known French actors, and though a much slicker and visually glossier production, it somehow lacks the gritty realism of the 1970s TV version.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Thu 03 Nov 2016, 21:36

Heads up - "In Our Time" today - the Epic of..... you guessed it .... Gilgamesh.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 06 Nov 2016, 20:52

I didn't catch that programme, Gilgamesh, but no doubt it will be repeated some time.  I still haven't managed to get my TV repaired. Confession time, I don't really know YOUR story awfully well.  Maybe a shufty at the appropriate page on Wikipedia!
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 06 Nov 2016, 21:04

Now that I have been out of hospital more than a month I'm trying to get back to "normal" but when I was first out I spent much time not really doing a great that could be described as "work" either of the house or cerebral variety (unless watching videos of cats and kittens on YouTube counts as work).  I think somebody mentioned the 2009 (?) cartoon The Book of Kells in the "Moggy" thread where the old Irish poem about "Pangur Ban" the cat was alluded to - Pangur Ban was a character in the film though I don't suppose cartoon Pangur bore a whole lot of resemblance to real Pangur.  I watched Aisling's song to Pangur a few times - not very realistic from the historical point of view (well Aisling's a fairy) but [to me at least] quite charming.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Sun 06 Nov 2016, 21:23

LadyinRetirement wrote:
I didn't catch that programme, Gilgamesh, but no doubt it will be repeated some time.  I still haven't managed to get my TV repaired. Confession time, I don't really know YOUR story awfully well.  Maybe a shufty at the appropriate page on Wikipedia!
All "In Our Time"s from recent years are available as podcasts, so you can download them from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/downloads
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 09:26

LiR, you've probably grown up with several rather loose translations of Pangur Bán into English - some better than others. The poet Eavan Boland however produced as close to a literal translation as she reckoned possible and which I prefer, myself. It may read as awkward English, but it retains the cadences and stresses that Gaelic imposes, along with some examples of how the Irish and English ascribed quite different interpretations even to words on which they agreed in translation, something which is an underrated but in my view a huge factor in figuring out ancient Anglo-Irish relations and the cultural assimilation difficulties the English encountered. But that's another story ...

Anyway, one thing that is easy to spot is the Gaelic love of ultimate stress on a terse last statement in every stanza - which was curiously employed in almost all poetry except laments where often the opposite applied (probably to emphasise that those being honoured in the lament deserved huge last lines singing their praise). A bit like haiku, the trick is to get as much import and meaning into the final line as pertains to all the ones preceding it, and using as few words as possible. It's not the best example by a mile - but for a monk scribbling an incidental off-the-cuff ditty into the margin of a page on which he was working it just shows how prevalent the urge was.

Myself and Pangur, cat and sage
Go each about our business;
I harass my beloved page,
He his mouse.

Fame comes second to the peace
Of study, a still day
Unenvying, Pangur's choice
Is child's play.

Neither bored, both hone
At home a separate skill
Moving after hours alone
To the kill

When at last his net wraps
After a sly fight
Around a mouse; mine traps
Sudden insight.

On my cell wall here,
His sight fixes, burning,
Searching; my old eyes peer
At new learning,

And his delight when his claws
Close on his prey
Equals mine when sudden clues
Light my way.

So we find by degrees
Peace in solitude,
Both of us, solitaries,
Have each the trade

He loves: Pangur, never idle
Day or night
Hunts mice; I hunt each riddle
From dark to light.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:52

You are correct, Nordmann, my knowledge of Irish Gaelic - let alone old Irish Gaelic - is non-existent.   It's not an unpleasant language to listen to - going by songs sung by Clannad (I've most like written their name wrongly).  There was a series on YouTube (only about three really and I don't know if it's still up) about learning Anglo-Saxon (not Irish Gaelic I know) though that was really only word lists.  The Anglo-Saxon for 'cat' was 'cat' if I recall rightly.  Unfortunately that channel was hijacked by people who seemed as though they would have considered E-------- P--------- (former MP for somewhere in the Wolverhampton area I think; should know, Wolverhampton's not that far from me as the crow flies) a member of the loony left.  (I suppose the term 'loony left' came in because it is alliterative - there are also members of a 'loony right' though that doesn't have the same ring to it.  Rabid right perhaps?)
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:54

Gilgamesh, thanks for the information about the podcast.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:59

Nordmann, where did you find the contemporary (with her lifetime) of Grace O'Malley (as her anglicised name is) with the cleavage?  I wanted to refer someone to it (not in a terribly serious way).

It was on the female naval commanders thread, not here.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 13:33

Hi LiR. The one I had referred to, now that I found it again, was probably illegal. However here's the same image from tumblr which is safer to copy/link to - it's whoever put it up on tumblr who's broken the law this time Smile

Gráinne Mhaol



Mind you, I've just realised you said contemporary ... and that one sure as hell isn't! Shocked

Hang on a bit and I'll see if I can find it.
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PostSubject: Re: Tales of Myth and Legend   Mon 07 Nov 2016, 13:37

Sorry - reckon it's this one you meant?



It's alright to nick this one - it comes from a mate's website and he owes me a few pints anyway.
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