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A look at key Celtic myths and their profound influence throughout the ages.


Celtic mythology evokes worlds of fantasy, fairy and mystery, but this book sets out to show how it has profoundly and distinctly influenced the world itself. The author, an associate professor in medieval literature at Oxford, explores the most vital myths, legends and characters of the Celtic worlds and how they have shaped modern culture. He treats King Arthur, a Celtic leader who somehow evolved into a legendary king of England; the great Merlin, whose true background and identity remains a multi-faceted mystery; Cú Chulainn, the quintessential Irish warrior hero; Finn mac Cumaill, equal to if not greater than the former in stature. Blodeuwedd, the woman made of flowers, also makes an appearance, as well as the tragic heroine Deirdriu; in this vein, their stories reveal how women are portrayed in the myths, especially in the context of love and tragedy. There is plenty of material here for those with an interest in Celtic myth and legend, or the history of folklore and its role in the shaping of the modern world.


London: Thames & Hudson, 2021. Hardcover, 304 pages. New.

The Celtic Myths that Shape the Way We Think - Mark Williams