A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures

Excerpt

There have been a number of anthologies of translations from Celtic literature published since Charlotte Brooke Reliques of Irish Poetry (1789), though hardly any are now still in print. They have mostly been limited each to selections from some one of the Celtic languages alone, and the great majority of them have been taken from poetry only. Often also they have been collections made by anthologers, not translators; that is to say, those who did not themselves know a Celtic language, or at any rate work from one, but gathered together the previous renderings of others. As a result, anthologies of Celtic poetry regularly repeat again and again the same pieces, sometimes in renderings so stale that they are quite out of touch with what we expect nowadays of translation. A brilliant exception to all this is of course Kuno Meyer Selections From Ancient Irish Poetry (1911).

The purpose of this book is to provide in the first place new translations, my own work, not to repeat those of others; and up-to-date ones, in accordance with the progress of modern Celtic scholarship. Then, to give selections not only from poetry but also from prose: mostly short, occasionally longer passages, chosen to illustrate the prose literature of the Celtic peoples; for a verse anthology is necessarily only one-sided. And third, to include material from all six Celtic literatures and from all periods from the beginning to the nineteenth century. I had intended firmly to exclude all those pieces which turn up . . .

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