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Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland (Forgotten Books) Paperback – November 7, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Author:

"Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (15 March 1852¿22 May 1932), née Isabella Augusta Persse, was an Irish dramatist and folklorist. With William Butler Yeats and others, she co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre, and wrote numerous short works for both companies. Lady Gregory produced a number of books of retellings of stories taken from Irish mythology. Born into a class that identified closely with British rule, her conversion to cultural nationalism, as evidenced by her writings, was emblematic of many of the changes to occur in Ireland during her lifetime.

Lady Gregory is mainly remembered for her work behind Irish Literary Revival. Her home at Coole Park, County Galway served as an important meeting place for leading Revival figures, and her early work as a member of the board of the Abbey was at least as important for the theatre's development as her creative writings. Her motto was taken from Aristotle: "To think like a wise man, but to express oneself like the common people."" (Quote from wikipedia.org)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Forgotten Books (November 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605061425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605061429
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,391,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gods and Fighting Men is an excellent resource because it preserves the lore from the Book of Invasions as well as other sources -- the legends of the earliest inhabitants of Ireland, the coming of the Tuatha De Danaan (The People of Dana) and the stories of Finn MacCumhail.
What is portrayed as "Early Irish Mythology" 99% of the time actually isn't -- the dozens of translations of The Tain, albeit worthy reading, are actually the lore of Ulster, a single Irish province. This makes it Ulster Mythology (regional) more than Irish Mythology (national).
The legends of the Tuatha De Danaan are essential for a comprehensive understanding of Irish mythology, actually comprising the majority of the Mythological Cycle, and deal with the initial settling of all of Ireland.
Unfortunately, it seems to be modern New Age reconstructions of the Mythological Cycle rather than the native stories that seem to be infusing themselves into the mainstream, and that is sad.
In my mind, the Mythological Cycle is the most important cycle in Irish mythology, because it sets up the scenario for all that is to follow. The Fenian Cycle (legends of Finn MacCumhail and his warband) are fascinating not only for their strong associations with Nature, but also for the fact that the stories are well-known both in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands. The Gods still walked and resided on (or in) the Earth and interacted often with mortals. Magic was all around.
The Tain, on the other hand, is more a time of towns and forts and war-chariots; a time when magic was less present and people were less intertwined with Nature than in the Golden Age. The Gods had already departed our realm and only made brief cameos in the stories.
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Format: Paperback
The works of Lady Gregory are the best way to get a pure taste of the original Irish Myths - unless you are fluent in Gaelic and can get a hold of older copies. Lady Gregory's elequent speech and style breathes life into Ireland's forgotten Heroes and Gods!
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Format: Paperback
Lady Gregory faithfully renders old Irish stories into a form that we clods that only speak English can understand. She does not, however, make them more prosaic, or fix them into what we normally find as our story format! They are true to the original structures of the genre, and are much more lively and fun for that. My wife places them firmly in the nature of Irish legend, which she calls "We went over there and stole their cow!" (Tain Bo Cuailnge is basically a story of a cow theft, and is one of the most famous stories of Irish legend). I love the split style, and it does give the reader a good understanding of the way stories were related in the old days. A must for those who want to know where some of the ancient Irish names derive!
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the Irish revival. Lady Gregory's literary recreation of western Ireland's Anglo-Irish dialect is simply a delight. Some readers complain here that these are not faithful translations of the Old Irish texts. No doubt, but we don't read Lady Gregory for philological accuracy. That said, she had a profound knowledge of many of the older texts.

Readers should beware that the Kessinger Publishing edition is riddled with misprints and mistakes on almost every single page (hence the low rating for this particular edition). The publishers seem to have scanned an original edition and then changed the type to a very boring and ugly text. Unfortunately, their scanner was not very good. "b"s and "h"'s are regularly interchanged (p. 19" "be [read `he') lost his arm") and many of the proper names are mangled beyond recognition (e.g. p. 44: Ild -strange double cross symbol -nach for "Ildanach). I have never seen a more poorly presented text. Shame on Kessinger!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This text is amazingly useful, and as a text alone, I would give it a 5-star rating. I purchased it on Kindle, realized I needed a paper copy for my research, and bought the $9.99 "high quality paperback" version.

However, this is literally the ugliest book in my house. It looks like it was constructed at Kinko's. I don't know quite what I was thinking here - perhaps that it was a placeholder icon instead of an actual version of the book. The cover actually does say "HIGH QUALITY PAPERBACK" and "AFFORDABLE AND HIGH QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK EDITION", the spine is blank grey, the pages are not very firmly set, and the font is a faded Courier. Unless you are a college student who will never touch this text again after your class is over - please, please find a different edition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this to learn of the history of Ireland's civilization and about the Tuatha de Danaan. while the stories and recounts of the legends were interesting it was frustrating to see so many typo's in the book. Would have also been better if pronunciation of all the Gaelic names had been included. I realize it was written a long time ago, but type set errors could have been corrected before republishing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Aside from the fact that this book uses old fashioned language that is not as easy to wade through as a modern novel, the stories are compelling and timeless. Since these stories are a collection of ancient Irish myth and lore, it is a must read for anyone interested in Irish history and cultural development. Whether it is or is not historically accurate is not the point. These stories are archetypes upon which the cultural mentality was formed, or perhaps the stories emerged from the inner life of the culture. Many of them informed the later Arthurian legends which are so popular today.

Though I did not find it to be an easy read, I did enjoy it and feel that it rounded out my understanding of my Irish roots and how they influence the world around me.
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