You'll perhaps forgive me for being slightly deficient in technological skills (despite the admittedly dated reference above); blogging is a relatively new skill for me. I've never been one to keep a journal or diary, even given repeated attempts, but perhaps in an academic venue I will be successful in my endeavours.
My name is Neal, a theoretically fourth year undergrad in English (with a minor in Philosophy), returned from the grave of an academic hiatus of 10 years or so to Finish What Was Started, or perish in the process. Not perishing yet. This semester I am working on an independent study under Barbara Bordalejo and Dan O'Donnell, focused on Adaptation Studies and Translation Studies (being linked as they are), with a 'case study' (so to speak) of Welsh mythology and how it has changed from its literary origins to popular culture today.
Mythology was the popular culture of the past. However, how far does it extend back? My initial inclinations were to look at the origins of the stories of the Mabinogi (at one point erroneously called the Mabinogion) and trace them through the various incarnations to the present day, from Taliesin to Disney, so to speak. However, after a conversation with Barbara and Dan, I'm going to research what the currently accepted theories are regarding dating of the stories of the Mabinogi. My understanding is that the collection of the Four Branches occurred some time in the 1100s, but scholarship will discuss how much further back these stories actually came from, given that we have very little if anything in the way of textual evidence of the existence of oral stories.
The poetry collected in Lady Charlotte Guest's book also includes poems attributed to the 6th/7th century poets Taliesin and Aneirin, but whether they existed in the first place in order to produce these poems is up for debate. The first recorded mention of them is in the Historia Brittonum (attributed to Nennius, another facet up for debate) in the 9th century, and they are not mentioned by contemporary sources such as Gildas. It is entirely possible that these poems could have been composed for or recently prior to Guest's collection, and I will be looking into this. As pointed out by Dan, there are various reasons people attribute works to older sources, such as appealing to ancient authority in order to grant an air of legitimacy, aiding in such tasks as building a national literature that supports nationalist ends. This ties into my interest regarding adaptations and translations, wherein what is changed from the original is of prime interest, as are the reasons why. Historical back-dating is a kind of meta-textual adaptation, wherein the background is changed or tweaked in order to present a piece of literature to different effect.
While I read over the core texts I have gathered for the purposes of this course, I'll also be researching journal articles that will help with my papers and presentations. Learning Zotero as a bibliography tool will be tricky but essential.
Welsh Mythology and Folklore in Popular Culture - Becker and Noone
The Mabinogion - Jones and Jones translation and introduction
The Mabinogion - Davies translation and introduction
The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, The Medieval Period
Fourteen Centuries of Welsh Verse - Tony Conran
Welsh Celtic Myth in Modern Fantasy - C. W. Sullivan III
Exploring Translation Theories - Anthony Pym
Requested for interlibrary loan:
A Century of Welsh Myth in Children's Literature - Donna R. White
From the U of L library:
The Nature of Poetry as Conceived by the Welsh Bards - H. Idris Bell
A Theory of Adaptation - Linda Hutcheon
Celtic Christianity in Early Medieval Wales - Oliver Davies
The Oxford Handbook of Adaptation Studies - Leitch
The Mabinogi - Ford translation and introduction
The Mabinogion - Guest translation
The Routledge Companion to Adaptation
The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies
Gutenberg.org and other online sources for original texts and old translations (e.g. Historia Regum Britanniae, Historia Brittonum)