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Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature$
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Patrick Sims-Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588657

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588657.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Patrick Sims‐Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses estimates of Irish vernacular influence on Welsh literature. Assumptions about ‘Celtic’ literature deriving from Renan and Arnold are considered in the light of ‘Celtoscepticism’. Problems include the divergence of Irish and Welsh, loss of manuscripts, uncertain dating of texts, independent folkloric influence, the widespread ‘Heroic Biography’ and ‘Heroic Age’, and the limitations of the philological Stammbaum model. Cognate names e.g. Finn/Gwynn, Nuadu/Nudd, Suibhne Geilt/Myrddin Wyllt (Merlin) versus borrowed names such as Mannanán/Manawydan are analysed, as is the character Brân. Historical contacts include Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd's and Cadwgan of Whitland's Irish parentage, the use of Welsh at Tracton, Co. Cork, and the alleged influence of Gruffudd ap Cynan on Welsh music and poetry. Latin intermediaries are include the Vita of Maedóc of Ferns. Some Irish material in Welsh reflects observation of reality (e.g. Irish dress) rather than texts.

Keywords:   Renan, Arnold, Celtoscepticism, Finn, Gwynn, Suibhne, Myrddin, Merlin, Mannanán, Manawydan, Brân, Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd, Cadwgan, Tracton, Gruffudd ap Cynan, music, Maedóc of Ferns

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