An Ulster tale in Breadalbane? Personæ and literary allusion in the poetry of Mòr Chaimbeul

Mathis, K. L. (2008) An Ulster tale in Breadalbane? Personæ and literary allusion in the poetry of Mòr Chaimbeul. Aiste, 2, pp. 43-69.

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Abstract

Recent re-evaluation of the sixteenth-century lament poem 'Cumha Ghriogair MhicGhriogair Ghlinn Srèith' has drawn together the evidence of existing external sources relating to the execution of its central figure Griogair Ruadh alongside the internal detail of the poem's textual structure, confirming the traditional attribution of the song to the authorship of Griogair's wife, Mòr nighean Dhonnchaidh. The skilful composition of the text, however, also displays an informed knowledge of contemporary Classical Gaelic culture, most especially, it is suggested, of Ulster Cycle material relating to Deirdriu and her ill-fated association with Noísiu and the Sons of Uisliu. This paper argues that literary allusion to such traditional characters and/or tale structures, may be deliberately inserted by a poet in order that some particular aspect of their poem be emphasised, even in cases where the poet's voice and the events recounted by their text have parallel documentary status. The article explores other examples of poems in which an allusive voice may be discerned, with particular reference to instances in which this technique appears to have been employed to express dissatisfaction with the situation outlined by their text.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mathis, Dr Kate
Authors: Mathis, K. L.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Journal Name:Aiste
Publisher:Department of Celtic and Gaelic, University of Glasgow
ISSN:1754-4270
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