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Storytelling in Medieval Wales

Davies, Sioned

Oral Tradition, 7/2 (1992)


Very little is known of the storyteller and his functions in medieval Welsh society. Welsh sources imply that tales were recited in prose by professional storytellers—the cyfarwyddiaid (singular cyfarwydd). In medieval Ireland, there is evidence to suggest that the composition of both prose and poetry was linked to the fili, the poet, although storytelling was not one of his main functions. In Wales, however, there is no direct evidence regarding the relationship between the bardd (poet) and cyfarwydd (storyteller). One much quoted passage in an eleventh-century tale tells of Gwydion and his companions visiting the court of Pryderi in the guise of poets.

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