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Irish translations and romances

Byrne, A. ORCID: (2019) Irish translations and romances. In: Lloyd-Morgan, C. and Poppe, E. (eds.) Arthur in the Celtic Languages: The Arthurian Legend in Celtic Literatures and Traditions. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, 9. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, pp. 344-357. ISBN 9781786833433

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Although sustained interest in Arthur appears to emerge much later in Ireland than in other parts of Europe, the composition of five indigenous romances, the particularly high rate of manuscript survival of two of them, and the allusions in contemporary poetry suggest a respectable degree of success for this mode of writing from the fifteenth century onwards. The correspondences between the Irish Arthurian romances and English and French romance narratives are close enough to be tantalising, but never close enough to be certain. What we seem to have (to a greater or lesser extent) in these five works is not straightforward translation from individual source texts, but the sort of recombination of familiar motifs that constituted the standard way of composing romance across medieval western Europe. Romance, after all, is a very derivative genre, albeit often artfully so - it could be argued that this process of composition draws these Irish Arthurian romances particularly close to wider European practices of romance composition.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:81800
Publisher:University of Wales Press


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