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Miracles and Murders: An Introductory Anthology of Breton Ballads - British Academy Monographs Series (Hardback)
  • Miracles and Murders: An Introductory Anthology of Breton Ballads - British Academy Monographs Series (Hardback)
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Miracles and Murders: An Introductory Anthology of Breton Ballads - British Academy Monographs Series (Hardback)

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£55.00
Hardback 250 Pages / Published: 04/05/2017
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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.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780197266199
Number of pages: 250
Weight: 752 g
Dimensions: 253 x 195 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
For anyone interested in the music of our nearest neighbours it is an essential addition to their bookshelf. * Simon Furey, Folk Music Journal *
Miracles & Murders is almost the perfect book within the scope it sets itself, being an 'introductory anthology'. If you read only one book about gwerziou (and if you are in any branch of Celtic studies whatsoever, you should), this is it ... [F]or someone not looking for more avenues of research to pursue, but simply wanting to get a taste of the gwerziou, there is little more to be said. I praise the book highly. * Matthieu Boyd, North American Journal of Celtic studies *
[Although], the widely accepted notion that the menacing impact of globalisation and consequent cultural homogeneity have provoked a renewed and defensive interest in 'smaller', local identities and cultural heritage indicates that Miracles and Murders will attract a much wider, general readership. The provision of these scholarly, literary translations into English of the Breton ballads thus has the potential not merely to enrich the pursuits of academic researchers, but also to stimulate the imagination of all those who look to the past, or to a Celtic heritage, to reinforce a sense of belonging in this modern age. In achieving this dual appeal, Constantine and Guillorel will undoubtedly succeed in their aim to 'give the Breton gwerziou a new lease of life' (p. 29). * H-France Review *

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