Tochmarc Étaíne

Parsons, G. (2017) Tochmarc Étaíne. In: Echard, S. and Rouse, R. (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain. Wiley Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. ISBN 9781118396988

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Tochmarc Étaíne “The Wooing of Étaín” is an Irish-language tale that was written in the ninth century and reworked in the eleventh century. It can be considered a single work in three parts or three linked tales (TÉI, TÉII, and TÉIII); its complicated transmission and multivalent story have excited a good deal of comment. The three elements are lent coherence by the theme of the Otherworldly Midir’s efforts to woo the woman Étaín. In TÉI, the pair is driven apart by Midir’s jealous wife, who transforms Étaín into a pool of water which eventually becomes a fly. In the form of a fly, Étaín is swallowed by a woman who subsequently gives birth to Étaín’s second incarnation. TÉII and TÉIII details Midir’s attempts to win the reborn Étaín from her husband, Eochaid Airem, king of Ireland. Taken as a whole, the tale reflects on a variety of forms of romantic love and sexual desire. The narrative includes significant mythological reflexes, including ideas about a sovereignty goddess and cosmogony. Its plot linksTochmarc Étaíne to a number of other significant early Gaelic literary works, including Togail Bruidne Da Derga.

Item Type:Book Sections (Encyclopaedia entry)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parsons, Dr Geraldine
Authors: Parsons, G.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1201 Irish Language
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Publisher:Wiley Blackwell

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