EAnotes

Adventures in Bookland: Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Who would have thought that those typical Irish turns of phrase and the rhythms of Irish story telling had such deep roots? But it is clear, from reading these earliest Irish myths and stories, that these phrases and rhythms, now transplanted into English, have their origins in the Gaelic of the earliest stories of the Irish. Indeed, the very nature of Irish storytelling, with its recursiveness, rapid switches between laconic understatement and exuberant and detailed description, and a general disdain for logic when it gets in the way of telling a good story, all have their origins here. These are stories of frenzied heroes who can be turned back by the well-judged insult, of hospitality overwhelming any measure of ordinary good sense, and worlds bleeding into each other. Many of the stories make only minimal sense to a modern reader, but they carry him into a phantasmagorical world. Fascinating.

 

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