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Insular BooksVernacular manuscript miscellanies in late medieval Britain$
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Margaret Connolly and Raluca Radulescu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265833

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265833.001.0001

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Welsh Bardic Miscellanies

Welsh Bardic Miscellanies

(p.193) 11 Welsh Bardic Miscellanies
Insular Books

Dafydd Johnston

British Academy

This chapter discusses miscellanies of Welsh-language poetry, focusing on six 15th-century manuscripts from the National Library of Wales, Peniarth collection, MSS 51, 54, 55, 57, 60, and 67, all of which contain material deriving directly from contemporary poets. The formation of these miscellanies was influenced by two key aspects of Welsh bardic practice: the fact that poets and reciters were itinerant meant that numerous contributors could have access to any single manuscript collection on separate occasions, and the prevalence of memorial transmission meant that large quantities of poetry were potentially available for transcription, despite the paucity of written exemplars. Socio-political networks are evident in patrons’ miscellanies, whilst the two manuscripts belonging to poets (51 and 67) are shown to reflect the ideal of the learned bard represented by the legendary Taliesin.

Keywords:   Wales, Welsh poetry, memory

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