MHC Celtic Literature and Culture Seminar


Friday, March 27, 2020, 5:00pm to 6:00pm


Barker Center 133, 12 Quincy Street

David Stifter (Maynooth University), The Riddler and the Joker Write Early Irish Poetry. Dr. Stifter's visit is supported by the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities. CANCELLED

The neglect that the study of riddles in medieval Irish literature has experienced in the past can be ascribed to two factors: to a lack of recognition of the genre as such in the corpus, and to the lack of editions, translations, and, most fundamentally, of understanding the relevant texts, which ‒ given their nature ‒ are difficult to understand. Recent work on two texts that must be classified as riddles or as riddles in an extended sense are a first step to a deeper appreciation of this genre within the context of Irish medieval literature, and of its idiosyncracies as well as its commonalities with texts outside Ireland. In this talk, I will present my progress in the understanding of the two ninth-century poems at the beginning of the famous Milan manuscript of Old Irish glosses, and especially of the allegedly obscure early-eighth-century poem Fil and griän Glinne Aí ‘There you see the gravel of the valley of Aí’.