Early Welsh Saga Poetry: A Study and Edition of the <I>Englynion</I>

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The early Welsh Saga Englynion are lyric poems in character, long presumed to be the poetic remains of lost stories, told in a mixture of prose and verse. Three main cycles survive, centred on the figures of Llywarch Hen, who loses all his sons in his vicarious quest for glory; Unrien Rheged, a king unwillingly betrayed by his follower and kinsman; and Heledd, the sole survivor of an English invasion of her country. There are also many non-cyclical poems of the same type with other narrator figures such as the leper of Abercuawg. The best poems display considerable artistry and emotional intensity. The critical discussion of the saga Englynion seeks to restore the lost narrative background by careful reading of internal indications and by comparative study. The growth, nature and artistry of each cycle is fully explored, as well as how each relates to the larger corpus. Relevant early Welsh traditions and history are also cited. This is the first full edition of the saga Englynion since Sir Ifor Williams's Canu Llywarch Hen, and uses two additional manuscript copies. Full translations make the work accessible to a wider audience.