Poets and Storytellers

T. M. Charles-Edwards

in Wales and the Britons, 350-1064

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780198217312
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744778 | DOI:

Series: History of Wales

Poets and Storytellers

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The history of Welsh vernacular literature before the twelfth century suffers from a lack of dated texts. A further problem is the extent to which the close links with other British lands and with Ireland shown by Welsh Latin learning were replicated in the vernacular. A comparison between Welsh and Irish metrics suggests that, even in the vernacular, both countries formed part of one cultural province; the presence of the same metrical features in Insular Latin offers one channel through which this may have been sustained. Three case‐studies are used to show the role of poetry: two poems, Edmyg Dinbych and Echrys Ynys may be datable on historical evidence, as is Armes Prydein Fawr, discussed in chapter 10. The third, the dialogue between Llywarch Hen and his son Gwên, followed by the lament for the death of Gwên, has been dated to the ninth century and illustrates the respective roles of verse and prose.

Keywords: dating poetry; metrics; Latin and the vernacular; the status and function of the poet; verse not used for narrative; Llywarch Hen; Edmyg Dinbych; Echrys Ynys

Chapter.  16031 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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