1. Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed
This talk introduces and contextualises the Four Branches of the Mabinogi as a whole, explaining how they are a rich blend of native lore, British mythology, circulating medieval stories, and much else besides, all orchestrated by a writer of genius around the year 1100. We then delve deep into the structure and meaning of the first branch, Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed. This is the story of the chieftain Pwyll, whose territory lies in south-west Wales. His name means ‘good sense’, and the tale tells how he slowly learns to live up to it, not least through interactions with Arawn, a king of the welsh otherworld, Annwfn, and the clever, beautiful Rhiannon, who becomes his wife.
Dr Mark Williams is Fellow and Tutor in English at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford. He is a specialist in the medieval languages and literatures of Wales and Ireland, and the author of Ireland’s Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth (Princeton, 2016), and The Celtic Myths that Shaped the Way We Think (Thames & Hudson, 2021). He is in training as a Jungian psychoanalyst
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