Historical Residues in the Old Irish Legends of Queen Medb: An Expanded Interpretation of the Ulster Cycle (Hardback)
  • Historical Residues in the Old Irish Legends of Queen Medb: An Expanded Interpretation of the Ulster Cycle (Hardback)

Historical Residues in the Old Irish Legends of Queen Medb: An Expanded Interpretation of the Ulster Cycle (Hardback)

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Hardback Published: 01/03/2010
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Through the lens of gender performance theory, this study offers a substantially different way of reading and reclaiming Medb as a figure of empowerment than has been available before in Old Irish scholarship. Medb of Connacht, a central female character of medieval Ireland's Ulster Cycle is read traditionally as an example of a misogynistic, patriarchal Christian campaign to suppress and silence women in early Ireland, or as symbolic of a primordial, mythic pre-Christian goddess, exempt from patriarchal censure because her behavior is ascribed to her duties as a divine sovereignty figure. In addition, this work provides the first comparative and comprehensive character analysis of the Connacht warrior queen across numerous tales in which she appears as a major player, presenting a more complete picture of her character across the tales than has previously been offered. Such an approach also allows for a reading of Medb as a literary reflection of the socio-political tensions present in the historical period during which the texts emerged, and perhaps as a reflection of historical women who helped to produce those tensions in their societies, including gender-related tensions every bit as complex and complicated as our own are today. This work will appeal to scholars in medieval women's studies and Old Irish scholarship circles alike.

Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
ISBN: 9780773436497

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