Taliesin by Dr Mark Williams – 12 July 2022

Taliesin is the super-poet of Welsh tradition, the shapeshifting bard who has been everywhere and in everything. He knows creation from the inside. But the kernel of this mythological figure was a historical person, some of whose poems, composed in Old Welsh, survive. We look today at how the legend of Taliesin grew, paradoxically becoming more pagan and mythological as time went on.

Reading: The Book of Taliesin, trans. Rowan Williams and Gwyneth Lewis

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day


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

Further Reading

W. B. Yeats, ‘Rosa Alchemica’ in Mythologies (many editions)

George Russell, ‘The Legends of Ancient Eire’ https://www.teozofija.info/Russell_Legends.html

Celtic Myth by Dr. Mark Williams

These lectures introduce a range of famous figures and fascinating stories from the medieval Irish and Welsh past, including many characters who number among the gods and goddesses of the Celts. The aim is to explain their cultural context and status as literature, showing who produced these stories in the form in which we have them, and why. Each lecture also draws attention to the ways any given story has been reimagined in modernity, being forged anew for our own times. In each case I have suggested one paperback to read beforehand.