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Cath Cluana Tarbh: The Battle of Clontarf

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Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail (2011)

x + 309 pp. ISBN 1 870 16664 7

In this volume, Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail provides a critical edition of Cath Cluana Tarbh, one of the most popular prose texts to be transmitted in the post-classical corpus of Irish manuscripts. She also provides a comprehensive introductory essay in which she explores the complex nature of textual transmission and composition in Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing on the manuscript evidence of Cath Cluana Tarbh, Dr Ní Úrdail calls into question the fixity or permanence of the scribal text in the post-classical Modern Irish period, and argues for a dynamic process of conscious transmission determined by its carriers and transmitters, the scribes themselves. The variability of the sources of a text such as Cath Cluana Tarbh alerts us to the continuity between a scribe’s labours as a copyist on the one hand and as an inventive author on the other, whose creative sense was provoked by his activity in dealing with texts.

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