Celtic Cornwall

Full title: Celtic Cornwall: Nation. Tradition. Invention

Author: Alan M. Kent

Photographer: Jan Beare

Publisher: Halsgrove

Published: 23 July 2012

ISBN: 978-0857040787

Pages: 288 with an index of place names and a bibliography

Synopsis: Exploring the sites associated with the Celts, both in ancient and more modern times, this volume provides a fascinating insight into the landscape, life and traditions that have made Cornwall and its people ‘different’.

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Review: The book is organized like a Gazetteer, and it discusses the areas of Penwith, West Cornwall and Scilly. There is an index in the back with place names so that you can look up a certain area and the entries have color coded dotes that tell you what interest the entry falls under. The interests include: Arthurian references, literature, sacred wells, monuments, Celtic crosses just to name a few.

I was looking for things in this book that point towards an ancient Celtic calendar or at least hints to feasts…it didn’t really have any. What it did have was an amazing array of places that will give you a taste of how complicated Cornwall is and how beautiful. I think this book is a great place to look if you want a historical tour of Cornwall or are planning the best places to see while you are there. The pictures are beautiful and very intriguing. The information that accompanies the entries is very informative and interesting. Great reference to places I want to one day visit.

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The Silver Bough Vol 1

Full Title: The Silver Bough Volume 1 Scottish Folklore and Folk Belief. (1 of 4)

Author: F. Marian McNeill

Publisher: Canongate Classics

Published: 1956 by William MacLellan, first published by Canongate Classics in 1989

ISBN: 0 86241 231 5

Pages: 242, with the notes starting on page 169

Synopsis: A marvellous and indispensible treasury of Scottish folklore and folk belief from the world of Celtic magic, gods and fairies, to the prophesies of the Brahan seer, second sight, witchcraft, earth magic, selkies, changelings and a host of traditional spells and cures. The Silver Bough involved many years of research into both living and recorded folklore, and remains a classic of literature.

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Review: I’m not going to review this book on whether or not it can be trusted factually. It can’t. This was first published in 1956 and since then, a lot of new discoveries were made and a lot of information in this volume of The Silver Bough has either been completely debunked or shown to be missing or incomplete. However, for its time it was cutting edge.

What I will do is tell you what this volume discusses. The Silver Bough volume 1 sets up the rest of the volumes of this series. It gives you the background to the festivals and where they may have come from, it discusses the druids, witches, the Gods, magic, fairies, and Christianity.

Now let me tell you what I got out of this book. I got a general sense of what in 1956 was known about the Celts, and I got the set up of a general outline of what the next three volumes of The Silver Bough will be talking about. The text also has some quotes from classical writers about the Celts, and the Druids.

I would not recommend it as a book to start out your studies with but as one that you can read after you have some history about the Celts- especially the Scottish people- and the Druids.