Some are written for scholars or a more intellectual audience, while some are written for a more general audience and are written in a more entertaining and accessible way. This list was written with the intention of helping you to do exactly that. Here, I present ten of the best introductory books in the field last updated April , along with descriptions that are designed to help you figure out which book or books on Celtic mythology are the best matches for what you personally are looking for.
The Celtic and Germanic peoples, including the Norse, shared very similar mythologies. When you do, I automatically get a small commission on your purchase with no extra cost or hassle for you whatsoever. His retellings of the Celtic tales make for a very fun and pleasurable read. Ellis is a talented and esteemed Celtic scholar as well as creative writer, and although the book is completely nontechnical, jargon-free, and reads as fiction rather than nonfiction, the reader can sense that this is the work of an accomplished professional in the field.
The book assumes no prior knowledge of Celtic mythology whatsoever, and is highly accessible and newbie-friendly.
On the whole, Celtic Myths and Legends is probably the best book on the subject for most total beginners. This book has stood the test of time remarkably well, and remains the quintessential scholarly introduction to Celtic mythology.
A Brief Guide to Celtic Myths and Legends
While Sjoestedt does retell a few of the most important tales of Celtic mythology, those stories are embedded within conceptual discussions of Celtic mythology and religion. The point is not the stories themselves, but rather what the stories show us about how the Celts experienced the world and its divine inhabitants.
Accordingly, Sjoestedt groups her material according to some of the major themes in Celtic religion so that those themes can be explored in depth. While intellectually rigorous, the book is never dry. At times, the words seem to glow on the page.
Click here to view or buy Celtic Gods and Heroes at Amazon. Like Sjoestedt, Mac Cana considers the material conceptually and analytically. His writing style is outstandingly lucid and to-the-point, which enables him to convey a very large amount of information and ideas in a relatively short space. Click here to view or buy Celtic Mythology at Amazon. In Celtic Heritage , the Rees brothers provide an in-depth consideration of many of the recurring ideas in Celtic mythology, with a particular eye for the meaning of these motifs and the positions they occupied within the structure of Celtic mythology and religion as a whole.
But the book focuses on different themes than Sjoestedt or Mac Cana above do.
It also draws extensively from later folk traditions from the Celtic lands, especially Wales and Ireland, and compares them with what we know of pre-Christian Celtic religion. In addition to providing a rich and detailed look at a beautiful and compelling cosmology and philosophy, the book is often able to demonstrate that echoes of this cosmology and philosophy have resounded powerfully in folk traditions well into the modern era.
Ellis Davidson. Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson was one of the giants of the scholarly study of the mythology and religion of the Norse and other Germanic peoples. Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe was her highest achievement during this period. The book compares the mythology and religion of the Celts to that of the Norse and other Germanic peoples, illustrating many of the powerful and compelling commonalities between the two traditions. This approach is especially important since the sources of our knowledge of the Celts and Germanic peoples are few in number and written at a late date, usually by people who had already converted to Christianity.
None of them provide anything close to a full or comprehensive picture, but all of them have clues to contribute. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Whittock provides a wide-ranging and enthralling introduction to Celtic mythology, from the Irish Fomorians all the way to Arthur, King of Britain. It is a very readable overview that also discusses the current state of research regarding the origins and significance of the myths. Get A Copy.
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A Brief Guide to Celtic Myths and Legends by Martyn Whittock | Waterstones
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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 29, J Conway rated it it was ok. Was reading as my book for the readharder19 challenge, for the task of 'book of mythology or folklore'. I couldn't get all the way through it. A rather dry and academic look at the celtic mythology when to my mind myths are stories to be told. This approach seemed to take all the fun out of it. Dec 12, Eva rated it it was ok. This book was generally very boring, but it was a topic I was interested in and I knew what I was getting myself into.
Thankfully, the book was very structured, and easy enough to read and follow. Jan 01, Connor Longaphie rated it it was ok Shelves: secular-non-fiction. The research for this book must have been an enormous task to accomplish. However, its drier than sand paper and extremely repetitive. As someone who was unfamiliar with Celtic myth, I found this book very informative and easy to understand. It opens with an explanation of who the Celtic people were and are, their geographical distribution, and the historical sources that act as the basis of current knowledge about them.
It then provides brief summary of the major myths of Ireland, Wales, and some other Celtic cultures. What is unique is that the author also gives explanation on how the pre-Christian beliefs of the Celts influe As someone who was unfamiliar with Celtic myth, I found this book very informative and easy to understand.
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What is unique is that the author also gives explanation on how the pre-Christian beliefs of the Celts influenced the myths, legends, and folk tales, pointing out the patterns and possible connections. At the end of the book is a select bibliography for further reading on the subject. It's probably a bit irrelevant, but a pronunciation guide on the Celtic terms will be helpful.
A Brief Guide to Celtic Myths and Legends
There are only two names whose pronunciation I am sure of, and that is because one is very common Arthur , and the other one I have known before Gwenhwyfar. View 1 comment. Dec 19, Jeff rated it really liked it Recommends it for: People studying Celtic legend. Shelves: ireland. This is a good overview, primarily of British and Irish myths and legends. I myself am exploring Irish mythology and appreciated being able to rise above the trees to see the forest, determining where I'll go next in my explorations.