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Ancient Tales of Ulster: Book 1. Cuchulainn Champion of Ulster. Amazon Co UK

Artwork by Gary Hamilton and text by Michael Hall. ISBN 0 951419412. Island Publications, Belfast.1995.  

This story comes from a group of tales called The Ulster Cycle. This graphic representation of Cuchulainn's early life is very impressive. The publishers are right to say that:-

"The sagas are remarkable not only for their mixture of violent battles, emotional poetry and heroic imagery, but also for their directness in 'physical matters: nakedness; seduction and lovemaking."

Hall and Hamilton present us with an uncensored version of the ancient tales pointing out the twisted values of some previous publishers: "while many versions sanitise, or eliminate, these 'physical' elements, they still leave intact most of the bloodthirsty scenes".

I must say that I was very impressed with this work. The ancient tales on which the work draws are a vital part of our cultural heritage and by re-casting a part of them in this form a wider audience can get to know them. Younger people are increasingly familiar with visual images and can interpret them in quite sophisticated ways. Surely, then a graphic approach to putting over what our heritage is must be the best approach. The publishers are to be congratulated for providing this useful resource. I can't wait for part two!

If we want them to publish further installments, however, we must support them by buying the first as they are only a small outfit! We have purchased a quantity to spread the message. If you want one please send 2.50 by cheque/postal order made out to:

Third Way Publications
PO Box 1243
London, SW7 3PB

Patrick Harrington

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