Wolfram von EschenbachWEMSK39:Celtic Literature

                    General Celtic Literature

[There is, of course, no Proto-Celtic literature, though there have
been attempts to reconstruct some of it. When I posted a similar
bibliography to medtextl back in August, 1991, a number of
medtextlers, particularly Charlie Wright (Irish) and Paul Schaffner
(Welsh), posted more extensive bibliographies and additions; the
medtextl archives will contain these, and I suggest you look

1. Bibliographies:

a. Rachel Bromwich, Medieval Celtic Literature. A Select
Bibliography. Toronto Medieval Bibliographies 5 (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1974). Old, but she knew her business.
Mostly Irish and Welsh. Good annotations.

b. A Celtic Bibliography, compiled by Morfydd E. Owen and edited by
Glanville Price, in Ireland and the Celtic Connection with A Celtic
Bibliography. The Princess Grace Irish Library Lectures 4 (Gerrards
Cross, Buckinghamshire: Colin Smythe, 1987), 25-47. Rather

d. Wilfrid Bonser, An Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Bibliography
(450-1087), 2 vols. (Berkeley:UCalPress, 1957).  Mainly on history
and archaeology.

e. There is an excellent online bibliography by the Celtic Studies
Association of America: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~csana/. It is
quite extensive and ought to serve most of your needs.  It begins
as of now with 1983.  Watch out for typos, especially in names and
foreign languages.

2. Surveys:

a. The best general survey, though small, is: Georges Dottin, Les
litteratures celtiques (Paris: Collection Payot, 1924).

b. Another short, but readable, survey: Jean Marx, Les litteratures
celtiques. Que sais-je? 809 (Paris: PUF, 1959).

c. Still the standard uork, though in part superseded and to be
used with care: H[enry] d'Arbois de Jubainville, Cours da
litterature celtique, 12 vols., 1883-1902 (Paris: Thorin;
Fontemoing, 1883-1902); repr. Osnabrueck: Zeller, 1969). Vols. III-
IV (Les Mabinogion), IX-XI (La metrique), by Joseph Loth. Best has
an English translation of vol. 2, The Irish Mythological Cycle
(Dublin, 1903; repr. 1912).

d. Julius Pokorny, "Keltologie," in Wissenschaftliche
Forschungsberichte. Geisteswissenschaftliche Reihe 2 (Bern:
Francke, 1953), 95-199.  A remarkable survey for its day.

4. Gaul:

a.  A[lbert] Grenier, Les Gaulois (Paris: Champion, 1945). Still
the standard work, treats language, culture, history, etc.

b.  Georges Dottin, Manuel pour servir a l'etude de l'antiquite
celtique, 2d ed. (Paris: Champion, 1915). Still usable.

c. Small, but useful: Georges Dottin, The Celts, tr. David Macrae
(Geneva: Minerva, 1977). Good plates.

d. For a recent general survey: Simon James, The World of the Celts
(London: Thames & Hudson, 1993). Great plates!

e. A compendious survey, about which I cannot say too much: The
Celts, ed. Sabatino Moscati et al. (London: Thames and Hudson,
1991. Covers everything. Good bibliography. Good plates. Over 700

f.  Georges Dottin, La Langue Gauloise: Grammaire, Textes et
Glossaire. Avec une preface de Fran‡ois Falc'hun (Paris: C.
Klincksieck, 1920. Reprinted Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1985).
Contains inscriptions, grammar, interpretations, etc. There will be
a section on the Celtic languages in WEMSK, where such things as
Whatmough's Dialects of Ancient Gaul will be listed.

5. Classical Sources:

a. d'Arbois de Jubainville, vol. XII: "Principaux auteurs de
l'antiquite a consulter sur l'histoire des celtes depuis les temps
les plus anciens jusqu'au regne de Theodore Ier".

b.  W. Dinan, Monumenta historica Celtica, Notices of the Celts in
the writings of the Greek and Latin authors from the 10th century
BC to the 5th cent, arranged chronologically with translations.
Vol. I (London: David Nutt, 1911), ends with Poseidonius.

c. For two recent survey articles: Philip M. Freeman, "The Earliest
Greek Sources on the Celts," Etudes Celtiques 32 (1966), 10-48
(edition, commentary, translation, bibliography), and, by the same
author: "Greek and Roman Views of Ireland: A Checklist," Emania 13
(1995), 11-13.

6. Readers:

a. A good book to read around in to get your feet on the ground is:
Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson, A Celtic Miscellany. Translations from
the Celtic Literatures (Cambridge: Harvard, 1951). Has the
advantage of including a guide to pronunciation, 350-359, in quasi-
phonetic transcription.  A warning: "So far as this is at all
possible, the pronunciations are intended to be those of the
period, stratum of language, or dialect to which each document
belongs ..."

b. Celtic Spirituality, tr. Oliver Davies (NY: Paulist Press,
1999). Broad coverage; not always trustworthy.  Good notes.

7. Collection of articles:

a. Robert O'Driscoll, ed., The Celtic Consciousness (NY: Braziller,
1981). The list of contributors reads like a Who's Who.

8. Periodicals:

Annales de Bretagne (Rennes, 1886-).
Be/aloideas (Dublin, 1927-).
Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies (Cardiff, 1921-).
Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies. (Cambridge, 1981-) .
Celtica (Dublin, 1946-).
E/igse (Dublin, 1939-).
E/riu (Dublin, 1904-).
Irish Historical Studies (Antrim, 1938-).  Do not overlook. Good
Journal of Celtic Studies (Santa Barbara, 1949-).
Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (Dublin,
Llen Cymru (Caerdydd, 1950-).
Newsletter of the School of Celtic Studies (Dublin, 1987-). [A free
newsletter from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. School
of Celtic Studies. 10 Burlington Rd., Dublin 4, Ireland.]
Peritia (Turnhout, 1982-).
Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium (Cambridge, 1981-).
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin, 1836-).
Revue Celtique 1-55 (Paris, 1870-1934) / Etudes celtiques (Paris,
Studia Celtica (Cardiff, 1966-).
Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (London,
Welsh History Review (Cardiff, 1960-).
Y Cymmrodor (London, 1877-1935).
Zeitschrift fur celtische Philologie (Halle, 1897-).

                      Old Irish Literature

[Charlie Wright has extensive Irish bibliographies on his web site,
e. g. http//128.174.194/wright/irishmyth.htm.  There you can find
more bibliography on all sections below.]

1. Bibliographies:

a. Richard I. Best, Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed
Irish Literature (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1913; repr. NY:
Johnson, 1970).

b. Richard I. Best, Bibliography of Irish Philology and Manuscript
Literature: Publications 1913-1941 (Dublin: Dublin Institute for
Advaanced Studies, 1942).

c. Rolf Baumgarten, Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and
Literature 1942-71 (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies,
1986). These three are reasonable exhaustive of the secondary
material up to 1971.

d. Alan R. Eager, A Guide to Irish Bibliographical Material. A
bibliography of Irish bibliographies and sources of information, 2d
ed. (London: The Library Association, 1980).  An excellent guide to
ancillary bibliographies and guides.

2. Corpus: Henry d'Arbois de Jubainville, Essai d'un catalogue de
la litterature epique de l'Irlande precede d'une etude sur les
manuscrits en langue irlandaise conserves dans les Iles Brittaniqes
et sur le continent, Paris, 1883. A work of great erudition, using
only three cycles and no miscellaneous classification, to be used
only with the list of addenda mentioned in Kenney, p. 92, cf.
Georges Dottin, "Supplement a l'Essai d'un catalogue de la
litterature epique de l'Irlande," RC VIII (1912) 1-40. I once put
this on edge-punched cards, and it was of great use in that form.
One could undoubtedly scan it and put it on the computer.

2. History:

a. James F. Kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland:
Ecclesiastical. An Introduction and Guide. Records of Civilization
9 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1929; repr. with addenda by
Ludwig Bieler, NY: Octagon Books, 1966). An absolutely splendid
book, which you ought to look through, at least.

b. Edmund Curtis, History of Ireland, 6th ed. (London: Methuen,

c. Edmund Curtis, History of Medieval Ireland, 1110-1513, 2d ed.
(London: Macmillan, 1936).

d. T. W. Moody, ed. A New History of Ireland, 9 vols. (Oxford:
Clarendon, 1976-)

e. Nice to page through: R. F. Foster, ed., The Oxford Illustrated
History of Ireland (Oxford: OUP, 1989).

3. Literary Histories:

a. Eleanor Hull, A Text Book of Irish Literature, 2 vols. (Dublin:
Gill, 1906). Still good as a read through. Good coverage. Not a
scholarly work.

b. Myles Dillon, Early Irish Literature (Chicago: UChicagoP, 1948;
repr. 1969). Introductory.

c. Myles Dillon, The Cycles of the Kings (London: OUP, 1946).

d. Rudolf Thurneysen, Die irische Helden- und Koenigssage bis zum
siebzehnten Jahrhundert (Halle: Niemeyer, 1921). Your first port of
call for anything under this rubric. A great book.

e. The small books in the series Irish Life and Culture can be of
great use; see 10.3 below.

5. Compendia:

a. The Encyclopedia of Ireland, ed. Ciaran Brady (Oxford: OUP,
2000). Don't bother with this one, but it does have an interesting
appendix, "Web Sites," 381-388.

b. The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, ed. Robert Welch
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1996). Coverage for Old and Middle Irish is
spotty. Bibliographies with each item.

c. Da/ithi O hOga/in, Myth, Legend, & Romance:  An Encyclopedia of
the Irish Folk Tradition (London: Ryan, 1990). Recommended highly
by Charlie Wright.

6. Introductions; learning to read Old Irish:

a. My absolute favorite is Julius Pokorny, A Historical Reader of
Old Irish (Halle: Niemeyer, 1923). It begins with "The Power of
Women," has a phonetic transcription of this, plus a good
philological commentary.

b. Another old standby: Longes Mac n-Uislenn. The Exile of the Sons
of Uisliu, ed. Vernam Hull (NY: MLA, 1949). Text, translation,

c. N[ora] Kershaw Chadwick, An Early Irish Reader (Cambridge: CUP,
1927). Uses the Sce/l Mucci Mic Datho/ (Story of Mac Datho's Pig)
as the basis for a thorough introduction.

d. As you read through the journals, you will run across an
edition, translation, commentary of this or that text. I always
xerox these off and keep them for reference.  You could earn our
undying gratitude by doing a text using hypertext methods.  Hull's
edition of the Longes Mac n-Uislenn would be perfect.

7. Readers and translations:

a. Ancient Irish Tales, ed. Tom P. Cross & Clark H. Slover (Boston:
Henry Holt, 1936; repr. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1996).

b. Standish Hayes O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, 2 vols. (London:
Williams & Norgate, 1892; repr. NY: Lemma, 1970). Vol. 1 = original
texts, vol. 2 = translations.

c. Gerard Murphy, Early Irish Lyrics (Oxford: OUP, 1956). Excellent
in every way. Get this and read it through.

8. Daily Life:

a. P. W. Joyce, A Social History of Ancient Ireland, 2 vols., 2d
ed. (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1913). This serves as a sort of
guide to:

b. Eugene O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, ed. W.
K. Sullivan, 3 vols. (London: Williams & Norgate, 1873).  With
these two, you can find out how artefacts, customs, etc. were
called in Old Irish, for example.

9. Old Irish texts: Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, eds.,
Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, 2 vols. (Cambridge: CUP, 1901-1910) +
supplement (1910). The source for Old Irish, e.g. Pangur Ban.

10. Series:

1. Early Irish Text Society (London, 1898-). The Loeb Classics of
the Irish world.
2. Medieval and Modern Irish Series. The Dublin Institute for
Advanced Studies (1931-).
3. Irish Life and Culture (Dublin: The Cultural Relations Committee
of Ireland, 1952-). E. g.: III. Irish Folk Music and Song, by Donal
O'Sulivan), VIII Early Irish Society, by Myles Dillon; Saga and
Myth in Ancient Ireland, by Gerard Murphy; XI, The Ossianic Lore
and Romantic Tales of Medieval Ireland, by Gerard Murphy; VI, Irish
Classical Poetry, by Eleanor Knott.
4. Todd Lecture Series (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1889-).

11. Influence:

a. Josef Szo"ve/rffy, Irisches Erzaehlgut im Abendland (Berlin:
Schmidt, 1957).

b. Charles D. Wright, The Irish Tradition in Old English Literature
(Cambridge: CUP, 1993).

c. Gisli Sigurdsson, Gaelic Influence in Iceland: Historical and
Literary Contacts: A Survey of Research. Studia islandica 46
(Reykjavik: Bokautgafa Menningarsjods, 1988).

12. Paleography:

a. W[allace] M. Lindsay, Early Irish Minuscule Script. St. Andrews
University Publications, No. VI (Oxford: Parker, 1910).

b. Ludwig Bieler, "The Irish Book of Hymns:  A Palaeographical
Study," Scriptorium 2 (1948), 177-94.

c. Ludwig Bieler, "Insular Palaeography:  Present State and
Problems," Scriptorium 3 (1949), 267-94.

                        Welsh Literature

1. Bibliographies:

a. Thomas Parry and Merfyn Morgan. Llyfryddiaeth Llenyddiaeth
Gymraeg (Bibliography of Welsh Literature) (Caerdydd: Gwasg
Prigysgol Cymru, 1976). It really should not bother you all that
much that this bibliography is in Welsh. A companion volume is
worth consulting also: Marian Beech Hughes and J.E.
Caerwyn-Williams, Llyfryddiaeth Yr Iaith Gymraeg (Bibliography of
the Welsh Language) (Caerdydd: GPC, 1988).

b. Not a bibliography of literature, but usable: Llyfryddiaeth
Cymru. A Bibliography of Wales (Aberystwyth: The National Library
of Wales, 1985-.  Limps behind somewhat; 1994 came out in 1999.

c. Bibliotheca Celtica. A Register of Publications relating to
Wales and the Celtic Peoples and Languages. Aberystwyth, 1910- .

d. See the Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies for more

2. Histories of Literature:

a. An excellent short survey is that by W. J. Gruffydd in the 14th
ed. of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Lewis on Cornish and Breton is
also good.

b. A Guide to Welsh Literature, vol. 1, ed. A[lfred] O. H. Jarman
& Gwilym Rees Hughes, 2d ed. (Cardiff: University of Wales Press,
1992).  The second edition has an appendix updating the
bibliography to 1992. Not bad as a first port of call, but
naturally spotty.

c. Thomas Parry, History of Welsh Literature transl, by H. I[dris]
Bell, Oxford: OUP, 1955). First port of call.

d. Gwyn Williams, An Introduction to Welsh Poetry, London, 1953.

e. Gwyn Williams, An Introduction to Welsh Literature, 2d ed.
(Cardiff: Writers of Wales, 1992).

3. Reader:

a. Thomas Parry, The Oxford Book of Welsh Verse (Oxford: OUP,

4. Series:

a. Mediaeval and Modern Welsh Series (Dublin: Institute for
Advanced Studies).  An example: Vol. 3, The Poems of Taliesin, ed
and annotated by Sir Ifor Williams, english version by J[ohn] E.
Caerwyn Williams (1968). A fine series.

5. History:

a. J[ohn] E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to
the Edwardian Conquest, 3 ed,, 2 vols. (1939).  There is a
bibliography for Welsh history: A Bibliography of the History of
Wales, T. Jenkins & Wm. Rees, Cardiff, 1931;

b. R. Ian Jack, Medieval Wales. The Sources of History (Ithaca:
Cornell UP, 1972). Good introduction, though he assumes some
knowledge on the part of the user.  Bibliographical details are
often quite fuzzy.

6. Paleography: W[allace] M. Lindsay, Early Welsh Script. St.
Andrews University Publications, No. X (Oxford: Parker, 1912).

                       Cornish Literature

[The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies usually gathers "Breton
& Cornish Studies" under one heading.  I mention this here, though
YMLS belongs under general bibliography, which you should always
consult.  Here, there is some indication of what each item

[Your first port of call ought to be Brian Murdoch, Cornish
Literature (Cambridge: Brewer, 1993): "The purpose of this book is
to place the literature of the Cornish into a broad literary
context for the general reader, in partiuclar for those with an
interest in the middle ages ..." Excellent bibliography.]

1. Bibliography:

a. Charles Thomas, The Medieval Cornish Drama. Institute of Cornish
Studies, Special Bibliography No. 2 (Redruth: ICS, 1973).

b. Evelyn S. Newlyn, Cornish Drama of the Middle Ages: A
Bibliography. Institute of Cornish Studies, Special Bibliography
No. 6 (Redruth: ICS, 1987).

2. Histories of Literature:

a. A good, if old, guide: Henry Jenner, A Handbook of the Cornish
Language (London: Nutt, 1904).

b. A nice read: P. Berresford Ellis, The Cornish Language and its
literature (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974).  Mostly
devoted to the revival.

3. Texts and Translations:

[Most of the corpus is found in Edwin Norris, The Ancient Cornish
Drama, 2 vols. (Oxford: OUP, 1859).  He includes in an appendix the
Vocabulary, our earliest evidence for Cornish.]

a. The Ordinalia:

1. Markham Harris, The Cornish Ordinalia: A Medieval Dramatic
Trilogy (Catholic University of America Press, 1969).

b. The Gwreans an bys (Creation of the World):

1. Paula Neuss, The Creacion of the World. A critical Edition and
Translation (NY: Garland, 1983).  Her Toronto diss., 1970.

c. The Beunans Meriasek (Life of St. Meriasek).

1. Markham Harris, The Life of St. Meriasek (Washington: Catholic
University of America Press, 1977).

2. Ray Edwards, ed. and Whitley Stokes, trans. Beunans Meriasek:
The Life of Meriasek (Redruth: Cornish Language Board, 1996).

d. The Pascon agan Arluth (Passion of our Lord):

1. Whitley Stokes, "The Passion. A Middle Cornish Poem," TPS (1860-
61), Appendix, 1-100, Text and translation.

e. The Charter Endorsement: Laurian Toorians, ed. & tr., The Middle
Cornish Charter Endorsement. The Making of a Marriage in Medieval
Cornwall. With a paleological description of the manuscript by J.
P. M. Jansen (Innsbruck: Institut f?r Sprachwissenschaft, 1991).

4. Commentaries:

a. On the Ordinalia:

1. Robert Longsworth, The Cornish Ordinalia: Religion and
Dramaturgy (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1967). Thin, but good.

2. Jane A. Bakere, The Cornish Ordinalia (Cardiff: University of
Wales Press, 1980). Chapter III: Biblical and Liturgal Sources.

5. Evelyn S. Newlyn, "Middle Cornish Drama at the Millenium; Papers
from the Second International Conference on `Aspects of European
Medieval Drama'," in European Medieval Drama 1997, ed. Sydney
Higgens (Camerino: Centro Linguistico di Ateneo, 1997), 363-373.

6. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, ed. Richard
Beadle (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), has a number of articles on Cornish

                        Breton Literature

[It is unfortunate that Breton literature is mostly known from its
influence, the matiere de Bretagne, the Breton Lays, Marie de
France, the Old Norse Strengleikar, etc.]

1. Bibliography:

a. F. Broudic, Langue et litterature bretonnes: Dix ans de
bibliographie, 1973-1982 (Brest: Brud Nevez, 1984).

b. F. Broudic, Langue et litterature bretonnes: Bibliographie, II,
1983-1988 (Brest: Brud Nevez, 1990).

2. Short survey: Gwennole Le Menn, "La Litterature en moyen-breton
de 1350 a 1650." In Questions d'Histoire de Bretagne: Philologie et
Histoire Jusqu'a 1610, Tome II. Actes du 107e Congres des Societes
Savantes, Brest, 1983, 89-104.

3. Another short survey: Francis Gourvil, Langue et litterature
bretonnes, 4th ed. Que sais-je? 527 (Paris: PUF, 1976).

4. Chrestomathies:

a. Joseph Loth, Chrestomathie bretonne (Paris: Bouillon, 1890).

b. Hersart de la Villemarque/, Poemes bretons du moyen age (Paris:
Didier, 1879).  Still worth looking at, like the Four Ancient
Books. An incunabulum from 1530.

c. Hersart de la Villemarque/, Grand mystere de Jesus (Paris:
Didier, 1865).

5. For a list of the corpus, see Emile Ernaut, Glossaire Moyen-
Breton. Etudes grammaticales sur les langues celtiques 2 (Paris:
Bouillon, 1895), 1-4. There are the Breton-French Catholicon from
1464 (printed 1499), a large number of glosses, the Buez Santez
Nonn, the Burzu bras Jean, the Buhez santes Barba, Tremenvan an
itron gwerches Maria (Transitus Mariae), Pemzec levenez Maria
(Fifteen joys of Mary), Buhez mabden (Life of Man), and the
Mellezour an Mary (Mirror of Death), the Great Mystery of Jesus,
among others.

6. A nice survey: Leon Fleuriot, "Breton et cornique a la fin du
Moyen Age," Annales de Bretagne 76 (1969), 705-724.

7. A splendid introduction: Histoire litteraire et culturelle de la
Bretagne, ed. Jean Balcou and Yves le Gallo (Paris: Champion,
1987). In three volumes; we are interested only in the first. Good
to look through; not much with direct bearing on our subject.

8. A German translation of Henry Lewis's well-known handbook,
previously available only in Welsh: Henry Lewis and J. R. F.
Piette. Handbuch des Mittelbretonischen. Deutsche Bearbeitung von
Wolfgang Meid. Innsbrucker Beitraege zur Sprachwissenschaft, 62.
(Innsbruck: Institut fuer Sprachwissenschaft, 1990).

9. A look through the MLA bibliography or the periodical literature
will reveal short works on each of the Breton works of our period,
e.g. Caroline Brett, "Breton Latin Literature as Evidence for
Literature in the Vernacular, A.D. 800-1300," Cambridge Medieval
Celtic Studies, 18 (1989) 1-25 -- Yann Ber Piriou, "Notes de
lecture: `La vie de Sainte Nonne'," EC 23 (1986), 215-231 -- Noel
Hamilton, "Hineveles Ar Mabic Jesus," ZCP 40 (1948), 228-274 --
Zdenek Hrbata, "K problematice `bretonske literatury'," CMF 64
(1982), 9-20 -- Gwennole Le Menn, "Dialogue avec la Mort, poeme en moyen
breton," EC 15 (1978), 633-54.