Medieval Welsh Manuscripts

By Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen | Medium Aevum, July 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

Medieval Welsh Manuscripts


Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen, Medium Aevum


Daniel Huws, Medieval Welsh Manuscripts (Cardiff: University of Wales Press; Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 2000). xvi + 3 5 pp.; 36 plates. ISBN 0-7o83-i6o2-6. L50.00.

During his long career in the Department of Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Daniel Huws established himself as the leading authority on Welsh manuscripts and the history of the book in Wales. The present volume is not a single narrative but is composed of a selection of his articles and lectures published over the last twenty-five years. Bibliographical references have been updated. Chapters include close studies of individual manuscripts or groups of manuscripts as well as more general overviews of the medieval manuscript in Wales, and the volume closes with accounts of two crucial, early modern collectors, Robert Vaughan and Sir Thomas Mostyn, who in the seventeenth century built up the most important private libraries in Wales.

Scholars of Welsh language and literature will be delighted to have in one volume the articles on Welsh-language manuscripts, such as those on the White Book of Rhydderch and on the transmission of the works of the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym; those who do not easily read Modern Welsh will rejoice to find here in English translation not only Huws's analysis of the Hendregadredd manuscript, that crucially important witness to the work of the court poets, but also his survey of Welsh vernacular books 1250-1400. The invaluable chronological table of manuscripts which originally formed an appendix to the latter is now presented separately in a revised and extended version, including later manuscripts up to 1540.

But the scope of this volume, whose value is further enhanced by the judicious choice of plates, extends well beyond manuscripts in the Welsh language. Those interested in the history of the book in general or in Latin texts and their transmission will find here much valuable and revealing material. …

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