The Legend of St. Brendan: A Comparative Study of the Latin and Anglo-Norman Versions

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BRILL, 2008 - History - 350 pages
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"The Legend of St Brendan" is a study of two accounts of a voyage undertaken by Brendan, a sixth-century Irish saint. The immense popularity of the Latin version encouraged many vernacular translations, including a twelfth-century Anglo-Norman reworking of the narrative which excises much of the devotional material seen in the ninth-century "Navigatio Sancti Brendani abbatis" and changes the emphasis, leaving a recognisably secular narrative. The vernacular version focuses on marvellous imagery and the trials and tribulations of a long sea-voyage. Together the two versions demonstrate a movement away from hagiography towards adventure. Studies of the two versions rarely discuss the elements of the fantastic. Following a summary of authorship, audiences and sources, this comparative study adopts a structural approach to the two versions of the Brendan narrative. It considers what the fantastic imagery achieves and addresses issues raised with respect to theological parallels.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
the man and the manuscripts
13
from the familiar to the fantasticuncanny
69
from the fantasticuncanny to the marvellous
127
Chapter Four The mirrors of salvation
175
Conclusion
235
Appendix One The genealogy of the manuscripts of the Navigatio and the AngloNorman Voyage
245
Appendix Two Translation of the AngloNorman Voyage of St Brendan
257
Bibliography
313
Index
327
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About the author (2008)

J.S. Mackley, Ph.D. in English (2003), University of York, is an independent researcher. His principal interests include the medieval perception and reception of apocryphal legends.

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