Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Reading List: The World of the Celts; Klar

The World of the Celts; 
Prof. Kathryn Klar, Linguistics 
(Full participation/g rade/audit A)
FALL 1999: Celtic Studies 70 (4 units)

Druids. Wicker men. Bards. Warriors in chariots. Triple goddesses and warrior queens. Headhunting. Tree burials. Stonehenge (?). King Arthur. St. Patrick. "kelt" or "selt"? Ogam. The Celts. Many people--a goodly number of whom claim no Celtic ancestry at all--are fascinated by the Celts. Perhaps, however, no other ethnic group is surrounded by so much misinformation, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. What do we really know about the Indo-European tribe which the Greeks called keltoi? How do we know it? This course is offered to help you learn something of what reputable scholars have learned about these people, and to provide you with the resources to continue to add to your knowledge after the course is over. A major theme of the course will be the nature of the evidence available to us for different periods of Celtic history, and how best to evaluate that evidence. The course will also deal such subjects as Celtic languages, Celtic Romanticism, and the modern Celtic diaspora. Grading will be based upon weekly quizzes (25% ), a midterm (25%), a final exam (50%), and regularity of class attendance.

Towns, Villages & Countryside of Celtic Europe, Audouze, Françoise & Olivier Büchsenschütz
The Celts, Chadwick, Nora
The Celtic Revolution: A Study in Anti-Imperialism, Ellis, P.B.
The Celtic Heroic Age, Koch, John and John Carey
Pagan Celtic Ireland, Raftery, Barry
Pagan Celtic Britain, Ross, Anne
The Agricola, and Germania, Tacitus

Plus a reader: exerpts from  JP Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans; Calendar of Coligny, Miranda Green, Sanctuaries & Sacred Places; Mythology & the Oral Tradition; St Patrick’s Hymn, The Celtic World, Proinsias MacCana; Twenty Years a-Growin, Maurice O’Sullivan;  Hallow Falr, Robert Fergusen; Prophecy of Britain, Ifor Williams; Armes Pryden Vawr & other Welsh poems; Samhain materials; articles on contemporary Wales, Welsh Patagonia, Ireland, Scotland & Brittany.

This is one of my favorite cattle call classes, a vast lecture hall, where it would be easy to sluff off, and not participate, but I was such an overeager student, Kathryn soon got to know my name, in a good way. This class really gave me the background on the Continent, and I began to fill in the gaps on what I didn't know of the classical world. In hindsight, I'd recommend being versed in the Classical World before taking this class, for maximum learning. I was handicapped. Dan Melia taught me a trick on how to store, and recall all this new info; He called it building another room in the mansion of your mind. I was hammer & tonging away with a carpenter's fury in these classes.

I sure read a lot  of material in Kathryn's classes. No wonder I had time for little else (such as poetry).

I eventually plan to transcribe my Celtic Studies class notes, so this is a placeholder. A reminder, a smack in the gob. What brought this on: I was asked to do a lecture on Celtic Bardic Poetry at Sacramento Poetry Center, and a) I was far too long gone from this material, b) I couldn't put my hands on the notes, but I at least still had some of the books. and TG for the internet. So many texts are now online (not so in 1999). I was able to reconstruct what I needed. But it was almost as bad as reinventing the wheel.   —MH 11/2015

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