however, to which frequent reference is made, will have to seek elsewhere: 'for copyright reasons' the Welsh texts are not included. Oliver Davies's main thesis, put crudely, is that the Christianizing of Wales was a case of 'inculturation', a random, laissez-faire process in the course of which Christianity absorbed elements of local pagan religion: for one, the place of nature and physicality as part of God's glory, and, for another, the inspirational power of poetry. In an early assimilation into Christianity of the bardic (in part, druidic) tradition, he finds the chief distinctiveness of a Welsh as opposed to a 'Celtic' tradition. At some points in the discussion one almost feels that by sleight of hand the Welsh bardic tradition has taken the place of the Welsh spiritual tradition (even the prose Ymborth yr Enaid is treated as 'in essence a poetic discourse'). Who is the hijacker? Early evidence of inculturation is found in the Vitae: the operation of nature itself (animals, birds) as a channel of grace; the resistance to metaphysics; the intensely local associations of Welsh saints. And it is found in abundance in the 'druidic' elements of the Taliesin poetry. The crucial texts in the argument are the religious poems from the Black Book and the Book of Taliesin. This is the poetry which has become easily accessible, to Welsh readers, in Marged Haycock's Blodeugerdd. Oliver Davies's book should bring it to a wide audience. The Black Book 'poems of penance', with their references to the hours of daily office, vigils, psalms and prayers, Oliver Davies takes to be of monastic origin. He suggests that they may be the product of the Irish Culdee movement which is known to have reached Wales, and associates them with monastic reform. The remarkable Black Book 'poems of praise' might, it is suggested, have had a quasi-liturgical function. Their use of the vernacular for 'monastic exhortation' (monks addressing monks, if that was indeed the case) is, the author points out, something without parallel in Western Europe, to be accounted for, again, by the early assimilation of the bardic tradition. Some readers may remain uneasy with the idea of a single definable 'tradition' of Welsh spirituality. The section (on pp. 66-71) which attempts to characterize the tradition (it is 'communitarian' and 'radical') is one which calls for an eye of faith; while, in an Epilogue, we witness some huge leaps as the 'tradition' suddenly embraces Dafydd ap Gwilym, Euros Bowen and Waldo Williams. Whether or not one travels all the way with the author, however, the main value of the book subsists in his chosen examples and stimulating commentary. DANIEL HUWS Aberystwyth