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Miracles & murders : an introductory anthology of Breton ballads

by Constantine, Mary-Ann
Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs Edition statement:First edition. Published by : Oxford University Press (for the British Academy) (Oxford) Physical details: xvi, 230 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, music ; 25 cm. ISBN:9780197266199; 0197266193. Year: 2017
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books School of Celtic Studies
Main Library
Books 782.4 C (Browse shelf) Available (Standard Loan) 32492

CD of ballads inside back cover.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The ballads: Lord Count and the Fairy -- Saint Henori and the King of Brest -- Skolvan, a penitent soul -- Maharit Laurans saved from the gallows -- Dom Jean Derrian's journey to Santiago de Compostela -- Saint Iann Bubry, murderer and rapist -- Berhet, midwife to the Virgin Mary -- The plague in Langonnet -- The bridegroom and the mad dog -- Seven years at sea -- Shipwreck at Penmarc'h -- The siege of Guingamp -- The Heiress of Keroulaz: a forced marriage -- Lord Villaudrain and the merchants -- Fontanelle and his bandits -- The kidnap and suicide of Jeannedig ar Rous -- Marharit Charles and her bandits -- Love and Leprosy: Iannik Kokard -- Janedig the witch -- The wax child -- The lead tower -- Cleric Laoudour and his sweetheart -- The murder of Lord Penanger -- The reprieve of Contrechapell -- Marivonnik abducted by English sailors -- Sea-changes: Catherin An Troadec -- Infanticide and penance: Mari Kelen -- The murdered servant girl -- The drowning of Toussaint de Kerguezec -- The execution of the Marquis de Pontcallec -- Loeiz Er Ravalleg murdered by his friends -- The twice-married woman -- The recruit: Garan Ar Briz -- The death of the Chouan Jean Jan -- Our Lady of Port-Blanc.

This is a vivid introduction, by two of the foremost scholars in the field, to one of the most fascinating and little-known song traditions in Europe, the Breton gwerz, or ballad. These narrative songs, collected in Western Brittany from the 19th century to the present day, recount a wealth of stories based on tragic local events or legends. They tell of shipwrecks, abductions, accidents and murders, miraculous rescues, penitent souls, and strange journeys. Quite unlike songs from the neighbouring French tradition, and distinct from anything else in the other Celtic languages, these ballads unfold in clear, spare verses, filled with striking imagery: they are often highly dramatic in nature. Historians of popular culture will find much to explore here, as will medievalists interested in tracing themes and legends across different European cultures, or linguists looking for rare material in Breton. But the gwerziou speak to readers and listeners of all kinds, with stories of violence, love, and grief that touch us directly today. This generous selection of songs is presented here for the first time in the original Breton with English translations and musical notation; an accompanying CD showcases some of the most famous Breton traditional singers. A comprehensive introductory essay offers insights into the history of ballad collection in Brittany, the nature of the songs, and the contexts in which they have been performed.

Contains Breton texts and English translations.

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