See also references for related subjects.
Shercliff, Rebecca, “A critical edition of Tochmarc Ferbe: with translation, textual notes and literary commentary”, unpublished PhD thesis: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, 2019.
This thesis provides a critical edition of the longest extant version of the medieval Irish text Tochmarc Ferbe (‘The Wooing of Ferb’), accompanied by translation, textual notes and literary commentary. Tochmarc Ferbe is found in two manuscripts, the Book of Leinster (LL) and Egerton 1782. This comprises three versions of the text: a short prose account in Egerton 1782, and a long prosimetric account in LL, followed in the same manuscript by a poetic account. After a preliminary analysis of the relationship between these three versions, the edited text of the long prosimetric version (LL-prose) is presented, alongside a facing-page translation. Issues arising from the text, in terms of interpretational difficulties, literary features and metrical analysis of the poems, are discussed in the form of textual notes. A particular focus is the prevalence of textual correspondences between Tochmarc Ferbe and other medieval Irish tales, many of which are identified as direct textual borrowings by the author of this text. The thesis concludes with a literary commentary focusing on the role of women in the LL-prose version. It is argued that its depictions of a wide range of female characters challenge traditional assumptions about medieval Irish attitudes towards women, which tend to focus on their supposed passivity and negativity. The portrayals of two female characters are singled out as especially noteworthy. Queen Medb, frequently viewed as the archetypal expression of negative attitudes towards power-wielding women in medieval Irish literature, is shown to receive a positive depiction in this text. Meanwhile, the main female protagonist Ferb is characterised by her use of speech, which dominates the text in a manner almost unparalleled in medieval Irish literature. It is argued that she subverts the usually passive role of lamenter by channelling her grief into an active force, offering an alternative model of positive female action.