Red Book of Hergest

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[W Llyfr Coch Hergest].

One of the most important of all medieval Welsh manuscripts (c.1382–1410), containing texts of the Mabinogi and the seven other narratives usually included in the Mabinogion. The Red Book also contains poetry of the Gogynfeirdd, histories, grammars, and proverbs, but not religious works or laws. Most of the copying was done by the single hand of a conscientious worker, Hywel Fychan fab Howel Goch o Fuellt, who imposed an order upon the entire manuscript; internal evidence proves that he worked on other manuscripts as well. Lady Charlotte Guest drew on the Red Book of Hergest for her translation of The Mabinogion (1846); more recent translations also favour the Red Book, with reference to the White Book of Rhydderch (c.1325). The name Hergest refers to the mansion in Herefordshire where the book was kept from sometime after 1465 until 1634, when it was returned to Wales. Since 1701 it has been at Jesus College, Oxford.

Subjects: Religion.

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