Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Hardcover | December 18, 2010

byPatrick Sims-Williams

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In the Middle Ages Ireland's extensive and now famous literature was unknown outside the Gaelic-speaking world of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man - with Wales an important exception. Irish emigrants had settled in Wales from the fifth century onwards, Irish scholars worked in Wales inthe ninth century, and throughout the Middle Ages there were ecclesiastical, mercantile, and military contacts across the Irish Sea. From this standpoint, it is not surprising that the names of Irish heroes such as Cu Roi, Cu Chulainn, Finn, and Deirdre became known to Welsh poets, and that Irishnarratives influenced the authors of the Welsh Mabinogion. Yet the Welsh and Irish languages were not mutually comprehensible, the degree to which the two countries still shared a common Celtic inheritance is contested, and Latin provided a convenient lingua franca. Could some of the similaritiesbetween the Irish and Welsh literatures be due to independent influences or even to coincidence? Patrick Sims-Williams provides a new approach to these controversial questions, situating them in the context of the rest of medieval literature and international folklore. The result is the firstcomprehensive estimation of the extent to which Irish literature influenced medieval Welsh literature. This book will be of interest not only to medievalists but to all those concerned with the problem of how to recognize and evaluate literary influence.

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In the Middle Ages Ireland's extensive and now famous literature was unknown outside the Gaelic-speaking world of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man - with Wales an important exception. Irish emigrants had settled in Wales from the fifth century onwards, Irish scholars worked in Wales inthe ninth century, and throughout the Middle ...

Patrick Sims-Williams has been Professor of Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University since 1994 and was previously Reader in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon an the University of Cambridge. He is the author of eight other books on Celtic and Anglo-Saxon topics and edits the journal Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies. He was elected a Fellow of th...

other books by Patrick Sims-Williams

Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:December 18, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199588651

ISBN - 13:9780199588657

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Table of Contents

List of mapsPreface1. Introduction2. Irish Vernacular Influence on the Earliest Welsh Literature3. Kaer Sidi and other Celtic Otherworld Terms4. Narrative Techniques in Irish and Welsh, I: The 'Slavic Antithesis'5. Narrative Techniques in Irish and Welsh, II: The Riddling 'Watchman Device'6. The Irish Elements in Culhwch and Olwen7. The Irish Geography of Branwen8. The Submission of Irish Kings in Fact and Fiction9. Llasar and the Lake of the Cauldron10. The Iron House, the Men in Bags, and the Severed Head11. Cu Chulainn in Late Medieval Wales12. Fionn, Deirdre, and Lebarcham in Late Medieval Wales13. Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literary Criticism?14. 1. ConclusionAbbreviations and ReferencesIndex