The Mabinogi as Children's Literature

by Speace, Gillian M.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this paper is to explore through latent content analysis the process by which traditional literature, such as folktales and legends, are transformed into children’s literature and the benefits of such a transformation. I have chosen as my sample several works of children’s and young adult fantasy based on the four branches of the Mabinogi, a collection of medieval Welsh tales which, despite their comparative obscurity, have provided the raw material for a number of critically acclaimed and perennially popular young adult books. I argue that in order for such books to be successful, they should fulfill two important criteria: they must be entertaining (enough to read) and they must meet the developmental needs of their readers. I begin by briefly establishing the historical and literary context of the Mabinogi, providing synopses of the four branches. I then proceed to introduce several examples of juvenile fiction based on the Mabinogi, chosen for their positive critical reception as well as their enduring popularity with young readers. Finally, I attempt to demonstrate how these books both entertain their readers and provide them with a model for growth and development.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Brian Sturm

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:children s literature – evaluation fantasy fiction english history and criticism juvenile american mabinogion influence mythology welsh in


Date of Publication:07/08/0004

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