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Wales and the Britons, 350-1064$
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T. M. Charles-Edwards

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217312

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217312.001.0001

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Poets and Storytellers

Poets and Storytellers

(p.651) 20 Poets and Storytellers
Wales and the Britons, 350-1064

T. M. Charles-Edwards

Oxford University Press

The history of Welsh vernacular literature before the twelfth century suffers from a lack of dated texts. A further problem is the extent to which the close links with other British lands and with Ireland shown by Welsh Latin learning were replicated in the vernacular. A comparison between Welsh and Irish metrics suggests that, even in the vernacular, both countries formed part of one cultural province; the presence of the same metrical features in Insular Latin offers one channel through which this may have been sustained. Three case‐studies are used to show the role of poetry: two poems, Edmyg Dinbych and Echrys Ynys may be datable on historical evidence, as is Armes Prydein Fawr, discussed in chapter 10. The third, the dialogue between Llywarch Hen and his son Gwên, followed by the lament for the death of Gwên, has been dated to the ninth century and illustrates the respective roles of verse and prose.

Keywords:   dating poetry, metrics, Latin and the vernacular, the status and function of the poet, verse not used for narrative, Llywarch Hen, Edmyg Dinbych, Echrys Ynys

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