Review: The Celtic Myths

I wasn’t very impressed by Miranda Aldhouse-Green’s The Celtic Myths, subtitled “A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends”. I mean, it was free from my local Little Free Library (pre-COVID), so you could say I’ve not lost out too much.

The book isn’t, as I thought from a quick glance at the back cover, a retelling of the Celtic myths, but actually a non-fictional treatment of them, looking at themes and what they might indicate about Celtic thought, with reference to archaeological artefacts. I think my problem with it is, basically, that it’s not very imaginative. There are no great interpretive leaps, and what there is will be mostly unsurprising to anyone who’s read anything on the subject. It’s not really organised as a reference work, either: there’s no contents list indicating where you might find treatments of particular myths, and although there is an index there’s no glossary of the sort I’d expect to find in a mythological reference work. It might make a good primer for someone who’s literally never read anything about Celtic myth, I suppose.

I notice, too, that Aldhouse-Green seems linked with the Celtic shamanism movement, which I have ranted about here. Seriously, why is this concept so prevalent in Neopaganism and Celtic studies?

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