Sunday, September 09, 2012

Not a Book Review

It's a bit daunting when someone expresses the view that they miss my book reviews.  Do people actually make or avoid a purchase on my recommendation?  Good heavens, sometimes a book has been reviewed here even before it's been read.  It's often an excuse to upload something visual on to the blog.  Like this:

There are books that you want and procrastinate over buying and then there are books like this that are bought on a whim and leave one reflecting "why?"

Not that it isn't a fascinating book, even if it does include one of the daftest maps ever published by an academic press.  This map, purporting to be of post-1284 Wales, shows the future county of Monmouthshire in England and Tintern located somewhere west of Newport.  Thankfully the map is so small that you need a magnifying glass to spot its stupidity.

As the title suggests, the book deals with towns in medieval Wales and consists of a dozen chapters each written by a different author covering topics such as townswomen, fairs and feast days, entertainment, bardic poetry and the Welsh element in towns across the border such as Bristol and Hereford.  The multiple authorship does lead to repetition, for example Gruffudd ab Adda's poem to the maypole in Llanidloes turns up in three of the chapters.

Radnorshire towns get mentioned in passing but as is often the case my interest is piqued by the footnotes more than anything - the bard Bedo Brwynllys' presence in Knighton for example.  I didn't know that and I'd like to know more.  Perhaps my suggestion that he was from the township of Brwynllys in Maelienydd rather than Bronllys in Breconshire has some substance.  I do hope so.

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