Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, Ailis
Satirical narrative in early Irish literature.
PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
When critics formerly considered satire in early Irish literature their main focus was áer. Satire in the more modern sense has received comparatively little attention. This thesis attempts to redress that balance by analysing a number of specific texts for satirical content as it is conventionally understood. By way of introduction áer itself will be examined with a view to ascertaining the origins of satire and how it developed as a literary art from magical curse to its more sophisticated form. The relevance of possible external influences will also be considered. Initially the Mellgleó n-Iliach episode from TBC I will be discussed in the light of alterations made to it by the author of Recension II and the way in which these underline its original satirical slant. Attention will then focus on three whole texts, namely Scéla Muicce Meic Da Thó, Serglige Con Culainn and the H Version of Aislinge Meic Con Glinne. Each of these will be analysed in detail, paying particular attention to satirical aspects. It will be argued that all three may be regarded as satires first and foremost, due allowance being made for appreciable differences in background and emphasis. On this basis it will be suggested that satirical narrative, whether as individual episodes or whole texts, formed a significant element of early Irish literature from at least the tenth century onwards and that further research along these lines may well pay dividends.
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