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Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

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Lady Gregory tells about Ireland's gods and her fighting men from the old Irish sagas. Lady Gregory tells about Ireland's gods and her fighting men from the old Irish sagas.


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Lady Gregory tells about Ireland's gods and her fighting men from the old Irish sagas. Lady Gregory tells about Ireland's gods and her fighting men from the old Irish sagas.

30 review for Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

  1. 4 out of 5

    Csenge

    This book is responsible for a lot of things: For me becoming a professional storyteller, for me falling in love with Irish legends, and for me having an English vocabulary that is mostly full of terms for Iron Age weaponry and strangely spelled Gaelic names. There is really no other way to write a review of this book - it is one of the classics that has earned a place for itself on the shelf of every person that goes anywhere near Irish lore and mythology.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Krzysztof

    It's always weird to read a book that's essentially a twice-over translation. First the original author translated the myths to English, and that was over a hundred years ago... and then the Polish translator, while trying to keep the archaic and mythical sound of the original, translated it into Polish... it's not always an easy read. However, it does give a good glimpse into what the dark ages Irish could've valued and what stories spoke to them the most. While it was a bit of a struggle to get It's always weird to read a book that's essentially a twice-over translation. First the original author translated the myths to English, and that was over a hundred years ago... and then the Polish translator, while trying to keep the archaic and mythical sound of the original, translated it into Polish... it's not always an easy read. However, it does give a good glimpse into what the dark ages Irish could've valued and what stories spoke to them the most. While it was a bit of a struggle to get through this one, I'm not sorry I did. It earns a slight recommendation if you're into mythology and legendary tales, but can otherwise be skipped in favour of a more abbreviated version of the same stories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    "Gods and Fighting Men" represents Lady Gregory's effort to gather the scattered, disparate tales of the Mythological and Finnian cycles of early Irish lore, and to present them in a more or less coherent format, much as she did with with Ulster cycle in her "Cuchulain of Muirthemne". Unlike that earlier work, however, many of the stories included herein stand on their own, and this book therefore gives the impression of a miscellany rather than an epic. Gregory's priorities, as is well known, h "Gods and Fighting Men" represents Lady Gregory's effort to gather the scattered, disparate tales of the Mythological and Finnian cycles of early Irish lore, and to present them in a more or less coherent format, much as she did with with Ulster cycle in her "Cuchulain of Muirthemne". Unlike that earlier work, however, many of the stories included herein stand on their own, and this book therefore gives the impression of a miscellany rather than an epic. Gregory's priorities, as is well known, had less to do with dispassionate scholarship, and more to do with fashioning a national cultural heritage in the light of her support of an independent Irish state. As such, her focus is providing a literary treatment that is peculiarly Irish. To this reader in the early-21st century United States, her renditions have a peculiar flavor that is more idiosyncratic than lyrical or literary. Her stylized grammar tends to be somewhat opaque, and it doesn't always scan. Here's a sentence chosen nearly at random: "And they were not long there till they saw a young man, quiet and with pleasant looks, coming toward them, and he wished them good health, and they answered him the same way." You can see there's a kind of loping quality to the construction that makes it a bit difficult to parse. Does it add to the poetic effect? Readers must judge for themselves, but I thought, not so much. My go-to edition for this material is Cross's "Ancient Irish Tales," which is a bit closer, and a bit less mannered.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Lynch

    This is fantastic mythology. I love ireland and anything irish and despite that, I would have love this book anyway because this type of mythology has amazing aspects and elements I haven't read before. There's something about the irish style of storytelling and stories that have been passed down, something in the history of that place I think should appeal to most readers. There's something fantastical and fantastic about this book and I recommend it to everyone. This is fantastic mythology. I love ireland and anything irish and despite that, I would have love this book anyway because this type of mythology has amazing aspects and elements I haven't read before. There's something about the irish style of storytelling and stories that have been passed down, something in the history of that place I think should appeal to most readers. There's something fantastical and fantastic about this book and I recommend it to everyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen McQuiggan

    Unpronounceable names, shape-shifting, fighting, profound oaths, fighting, magic cauldrons, fighting, hunting strange beasts, even more fighting, and all rounded off with a rejection of Christianity. What more do you want?

  6. 5 out of 5

    A. Mary

    Gregory's versions of the myths are written with the music that can be missing from more recent tellings, rather in the same way that the Good News Bible loses the lyricism of the King James. Her arrangements are more demur than Kinsella's, but this is part of their charm. Gregory's versions of the myths are written with the music that can be missing from more recent tellings, rather in the same way that the Good News Bible loses the lyricism of the King James. Her arrangements are more demur than Kinsella's, but this is part of their charm.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peat

    Wow-ee! This thing is HUGE. Or I'm slow. Hard to say when you're on kindle. Maybe a bit of both. Because while this is a very comprehensive recounting of Irish mythology (minus the Ulster cycle, minus a few other stories such as Cath Gabhra), Gregory presents it all very faithfully and as such, it occasionally feels a little dry when consuming a lot of it. The decision to write everything with Gaelic grammar is welcome, but again at times taxing. Still a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to del Wow-ee! This thing is HUGE. Or I'm slow. Hard to say when you're on kindle. Maybe a bit of both. Because while this is a very comprehensive recounting of Irish mythology (minus the Ulster cycle, minus a few other stories such as Cath Gabhra), Gregory presents it all very faithfully and as such, it occasionally feels a little dry when consuming a lot of it. The decision to write everything with Gaelic grammar is welcome, but again at times taxing. Still a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to delve into all of Irish mythology, or with a real interest in the subject. But for someone wishing to read stories in the most entertaining fashion, maybe a more modern retelling would be better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    George Noland II

    I’ve been looking for an understandable version of Irish mythology relating to the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna. I tried more modern versions, but this Lady Gregory classic is the best so far. Highly recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is the same book as Irish Myths and Legends, just converted to a digital format.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alaharon123

    Really hard to read

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Jaquinta

    This books was instrumental in understanding the popular culture view of ancient Irish legends. People in Ireland are more likely to have ready Lady Gregory's version than more scholarly ones. I did get the strong impression reading these that this was something quite different from normal Western Culture fairy tales. Mostly because the tales did not follow an expected "normal" narrative path, and that "fairly tale logic" did not apply. For example, one long tale about the "Hard Servant", who tric This books was instrumental in understanding the popular culture view of ancient Irish legends. People in Ireland are more likely to have ready Lady Gregory's version than more scholarly ones. I did get the strong impression reading these that this was something quite different from normal Western Culture fairy tales. Mostly because the tales did not follow an expected "normal" narrative path, and that "fairly tale logic" did not apply. For example, one long tale about the "Hard Servant", who tricks Finn and goes off with a bunch of his men, stumbles through a number of things Finn has to go through to get him back. But after a few of these, the narrator says that he eventually got justice from the Hard Servant but the details are too boring to tell. And the overall arc of the Finn saga is clearly the muse of depressing Irish playrights. After some normal, glorious heroic tales, there is the whole Dermott and Finn spat, where Finn becomes, more or less, the bad guy. Then later he becomes more petty in dispute with the Sons of Morna. After than the Fianna are, basically, a bunch of old men with nothing left as no one respects or honors them anymore. The tales end with a fast forward to the future where Finn's son, back from the land of the ever-young, engages in a series of petty arguments with Saint Patrick. This isn't a Greek Tragedy, where a hero's fate rises, until he is brought down by his own hubris, only to learn his lesson and be an example to all in the end. This is probably what many of those Greek Tragedies started out like; vague disconnected folk tales, that over time and repetition were honed into a consistent and exemplary tale. Irish literature was not so fortunate. Maybe I'm just being ethnocentric here. But I think the general problem is the ethnicity that could appreciate these tales for what they are is long dead. I think only scholars have a hope of that now. Nevertheless, I'll probably read the rest of her books. If only because my child constantly demands more and more tales of Ireland...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mordi

    though I have read most of the tales dozens of times over, I had always wanted to read this collection. I was excited to start, but after weeks of scattered reading I finally had to give it up. This is such a disorganized rendering of these tales I just couldn't follow it - and that's saying a lot for someone who *already knows these tales*. I don't know if it was the fact that I was reading it via ereader - as i've found it is much, much harder for me to follow, and retain via an ereader than though I have read most of the tales dozens of times over, I had always wanted to read this collection. I was excited to start, but after weeks of scattered reading I finally had to give it up. This is such a disorganized rendering of these tales I just couldn't follow it - and that's saying a lot for someone who *already knows these tales*. I don't know if it was the fact that I was reading it via ereader - as i've found it is much, much harder for me to follow, and retain via an ereader than an actual book, or if it was a combination of that and the language. I just found this so scattered and incohesive, with over exaggerated language, usage and run on sentences that cover half a dozen topics / people/ places all in one thought process that span entire paragraphs and excerpts. This is just plain bad writing. There are hundreds upon hundreds of stories or anthologies written in this same era, and earlier, that retain their original language paired with romanticized lyricism that are beautiful and amazing works of visionary word. I feel like this is what she was trying to capture, but did not fully understand it - and therefor left the collection empty, hard to navigate, and just plainly confusing and hard to read. Perhaps one day I will pick up a hard copy of this book, and try again with a physical copy in hand. Perhaps that will make all the difference in the world...but until then, absolutely no. I cannot finish this. It is not worth the time nor the headache, especially when there are so many other wonderful presentation of these tales.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ezra

    This set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and over to feel repetitive. Some things seemed out of place like mentions of God or the Greeks. Pretty sure these are stories about events prior to Christianity came to Ireland. And the Greek presence seems even less likely. Apparently the favorite animal to change someone into or hunt are pigs. They show up in several stories. Others like deer or hound This set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and over to feel repetitive. Some things seemed out of place like mentions of God or the Greeks. Pretty sure these are stories about events prior to Christianity came to Ireland. And the Greek presence seems even less likely. Apparently the favorite animal to change someone into or hunt are pigs. They show up in several stories. Others like deer or hounds show up, but the pigs were notably everywhere. I enjoyed Táin Bó Cúalnge much more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eoin Coleman

    This is still my go to book for research on the Mythological Cycles. While it doesn't have EVERY story, it has so many more than I've found in any other compilation. Her notes at the end of each book makes it so easy to follow on for more research if you are not satisfied with what she's compiled. And for anyone who is interested, the final sequences with Oisín and St. Patrick are absolutely brilliant. It summarizes how a lot of people felt about the stories being altered by the Church and I would This is still my go to book for research on the Mythological Cycles. While it doesn't have EVERY story, it has so many more than I've found in any other compilation. Her notes at the end of each book makes it so easy to follow on for more research if you are not satisfied with what she's compiled. And for anyone who is interested, the final sequences with Oisín and St. Patrick are absolutely brilliant. It summarizes how a lot of people felt about the stories being altered by the Church and I would love to share a high five with Lady G. for this text.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Corbett

    Blame my fascination with this mythology on Game of Thrones. I downloaded this book off the Internet and have been having a grand old time just working through it slowly. The stories, which range from the account of how the Tuatha de Danaan came to inhabit Ireland to the classic tales of Finn McCumhal and the Fianna, are rowdy, blustering, bawdy, mysterious, tragic accounts of how the old magic served and betrayed the fabled folk who once inhabited the Emerald Isle. Utterly addictive.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fred Pratt

    A wonderful book of old Irish tales. Lady Gregory collected and translated these stories from prehistoric Ireland into something a modern reader can enjoy. Now I have to do another driving trip of Ireland to soak it all in.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hazel

    I enjoyed this book, though the tale of Cuchulain is more interesting. This story shows you the mythological history of Ireland, starting with the arrival of the gods and ending with the return of the last of the Fianna to a christian Ireland.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    With some difficulty, I made it through this good foundation on Irish Myth. Being of Irish descent, it seemed a shame to me that I knew little about the mythology of my ancestors. Now, I feel a little better versed, although I feel the book might be due a second read sometime.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Howells

    A delightful translation of the Ancient Irish myths.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Available legally and free at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14465 Available legally and free at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14465

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Davis

    Only a few pages in, but I love her beautiful use of language.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SBC

    Heavy going but beautiful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mathieu

    LE livre par lequel je suis entré dans les légendes irlandaises, réécrites par nulle autre que Lady Gregory elle-même. Un classique.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    The stories themselves were very enjoyable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily Roos

  26. 5 out of 5

    Giulia Sicignano

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thaine Chase

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matilda

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mairéad

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