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Otherworlds – Fantasy and History in Medieval Literature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Otherworlds: Fantasy and History in Medieval Literature

Aisling Byrne


Otherworlds are a recurrent feature in medieval literary texts and are usually characterized by a set of distinctive features. This study highlights the potentially anachronistic implications of using the term ‘otherworld’ in a medieval context, noting the absence of any analogous lexical item in the languages of medieval Britain and Ireland. It argues that medieval otherworlds are not defined primarily on semantic or ontological grounds, but by a rich lexicon of distinctive motifs which came to be associated with supernatural realms. The intensity and creativity with which otherworlds were im ... More

Keywords: otherworld, supernatural, fantasy, motifs, Britain, Ireland, Celtic, afterlife, politics, islands

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780198746003
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746003.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Aisling Byrne, author
Lecturer in Medieval English Literature, University of Reading