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Family, locality and nationality: vernacular adaptations of the Expugnatio Hibernica from late medieval Ireland

Byrne, A. (2013) Family, locality and nationality: vernacular adaptations of the Expugnatio Hibernica from late medieval Ireland. Medium Aevum, 82 (1). pp. 101-118. ISSN 0025-8385‎

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Abstract/Summary

This paper examines two late medieval abridgements of Gerald of Wales’ Expugnatio Hibernica, one in Hiberno-English and one in Irish. The manuscripts in which these adaptations survive all date from the late fifteenth century and appear to bear witness to a sudden and pronounced interest in Gerald’s text. Drawing on evidence from the extant manuscripts, this paper explores the readerships of, and the nature of their interest in, these adaptations. A key conclusion is that the Expugnatio, which gives prominence to Gerald's own relatives, the Fitzgeralds, was valued as a family history by the Fitzgerald Earls of Kildare and their allies. The Earls were at the height of their power in the period in which these manuscripts were produced. Examination of this neglected evidence of the adaptation and readership of the Expugnatio in late medieval Ireland suggests that, for some medieval readers at least, the primary identities Gerald’s text expressed were familial and local rather than colonial or national.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:52245
Publisher:Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature

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