First published in 1839, this book comprises stories,
legends, ballads, songs for religious and festive
occasions found in the Breton oral literature.
Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué spent his early
childhood in Nizon, near Pont-Aven, in the manor
house of Plessix. His mother spoke the breton language
and let him listen to the recitatives. He wrote them down
assiduously. After completing his studies at the " Ecole
des Chartes " and working with Le Goffic, he published
them with the French translation and the music.
The cultured populations of France and Europe then
discovered the existence of another culture.
La Villemarqué inspired imitators : Emile Souvestre, Luzel, Laurens de la Barre,
Anatole le Braz and many others.
He was also severely criticised, from 1867 onwards. He was accused of having invented most of the songs published, and after his death some people went as far as claiming that he did not know the Breton language.
However, truth was on his side, as Donatien Laurent has recently proved beyond doubt. He found the manuscript notebooks with the collected stories and began to publish them (see " Aux sources du Barzaz Breiz ", Armen editions, 1989).
With the Barzaz Breiz, it is noted that not only has the oral Breton literature begun to be appreciated, collected and published. In addition, a whole soul and spirit, the Breton soul and spirit, with its culture has rediscovered its dignity, its legitimacy and the foundations of its future.

Editions : You can find

" Barzaz Breiz, Chants populaires de la Bretagne "
-Libraire académique Perrin, Paris 1963 (identical to the 1867 edition)
French text, Breton text and musical score, it is the edition revised by Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué in 1967.
The Breton text is that of Hersart de la Villemarqué ; his writing is simpler than that of the modern Breton writers.

" Le Barzaz Breizh ", Trésor de la littérature orale de la Bretagne
(French text)
-Coop Breiz, Spezet 1997 – excellent preface by Per Denez.