Duignan, L., The echtrae as an Irish literary genre (2010)
Duignan, Leonie, “The echtrae as an Irish literary genre”, PhD thesis: NUI Maynooth, 2010.
- PhD thesis
Chapter I looks at the basic use of the term in medieval Irish tale-lists and elsewhere, and then briefly considers modem scholarship and vanous issues raised by it regarding the nature and function of the pre-Norman Irish echtrae
Chapter II endeavours to gather such information as is available about echtrae titles attested in the tale-lists and then to examine the medieval provenance (or lack of it) of the use of the echtrae to refer to various tales often associated with the genre.
Narratives for which this can be established form the initial database of seven tales examined in Chapter III, which proposes a preliminary taxonomy of what can be regarded as reasonably typical echtrai in the light of ten significant common elements.
Chapter IV augments this rather restricted corpus with five further texts selected for similar analysis on the strength of significant typological affinities with the group considered in Chapter III.
The role of sovereignty or kingship, which emerges as a central concern of echtrai in Chapters III and IV, will be examined further in Chapter V, which will also look at the royal or other connections of the persons named in the titles of various lost echtrai.
Chapter VI explores the way in which sovereignty and other motifs are exploited in individual extant echtrai.
Chapter VII examines stones relating the otherworldly expeditions of Cu Chulainn and their relationship to the echtrai.Finally, Chapter VIII endeavours to summarise the main findings and attempts to sketch the development of the echtrae in the pre-Norman period.
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