Middle Irish saga and Irish neoclassicism.
Miles, Brent.
286 leaves.
Microform, Thesis
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dissertation note
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2005.
general note
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-06, Section: A, page: .
Irish scholars of the pre-Carolingian period were distinguished by their interest in the classical tradition, notably by their fascination with Greek letters, as well as their preoccupation with Virgil. This familiarity with the classical poets continued uninterrupted into the eleventh century according to the evidence of Togail Troi, an Irish adaptation of Dares Phrygius's history of the Trojan War, the De excidio Troiae historia. Consideration of mythological material incorporated by the author into his adaptation suggests that he knew, in addition to Virgil, Statius and their commentators, the poems of Ovid, and a corpus of late-antique commentary which was fuller than that which survives, features of which were preserved independently by the First Vatican Mythographer and Remigius of Auxerre. The author of Togail Troi incorporates into his adaptation imitatio, or, 'imitation', of the ekphrases of Virgil and Statius, and imbues his text with similes derived from the classical poets. Furthermore, the author mines commentaries for the restoration of features of Homer's version of the Trojan War which had been omitted in Dares's De excidio. The artistic sensibility which informs the author's efforts is here given the name 'Irish neoclassicism'.It is demonstrated that the techniques of imitatio evident in Togail Troi are shared also by allusions to the poems of Virgil and Statius in Tain Bo Cuailnge , a text contemporary with Togail Troi in its earliest surviving version. Evidence is considered which demonstrates that the authors of Tain Bo Cuailnge drew on a familiarity with the classical poets which they would have received in the medieval classroom. It is proposed that the extension of techniques of prose composition developed in Togail Troi to Tain Bo Cuailnge is the result of aemulatio . According to this suggestion, during the Middle Irish period, the authors engaged in the editing of older, inherited saga-narratives employed the techniques of Irish neoclassicism, not only to dignify their compositions through association with Virgil and Statius, but also to surpass the literary accomplishments of the 'school of classical translations'. Irish neoclassicism is thus seen to have operated over native texts such as Tain Bo Cuailnge.
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