Horses, swine and magical birds : the role of animals in the Mabinogion.

Garlick, Susan. (2011) Horses, swine and magical birds : the role of animals in the Mabinogion. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Numerous animals, both real and enchanted, occur repeatedly throughout the Mabinogion collection of tales. This thesis explores the significance of these animals in some depth, considering why so many appear, what purposes they serve and how they affect both the characters and the overall narratives. On a general level animals act as catalysts - making the tales more dynamic and moving the plots and therefore also the characters forwards - by acting as messengers, modes of transport and combat, means of revenge, punishment and transformation and leaders into otherworldy adventure, particularly via the hunt. Some animals are more predominant than others and separate chapters on ‘Horses’, ‘Swine’ and ‘Magical Birds and Other Enchanted Beasts’ cover general depictions of these creatures across several of the tales, along with in-depth explorations of relevant episodes and discussions of the animals’ particular functions within the narratives, as well as considering the roles of enchantment, shape-shifting and otherworldly activity as they relate to the animals in question. The fourth chapter, ‘The Oldest Animals: Folk Tale Motifs’ additionally considers the influence of international popular tale motifs in regard to the animals of the Mabinogion, focusing primarily on the tradition of the oldest animals found in Culhwch ac Olwen. The thesis then concludes with an overall appreciation of the significance of the animals and birds found within these tales and their important narrative function as catalysts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/265.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mabinogion, Animals
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
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Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 17:52
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 10:02

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