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Module code: SG256
Credits: 5
Semester: 1
International: Yes
Coordinator: Dr Deborah Hayden (EARLY IRISH (SEAN-GHAEILGE))
Overview Overview

This module will explore the large body of written sources surviving from medieval Ireland that centre on ideas about topography and travel. As inhabitants of an island at the edge of the known world, medieval Irish scholars were keenly interested in understanding the geographical relationship of their home to the wider ‘global’ sphere (understood as comprising Europe, Africa and Asia) and the place of their cultural inheritance within the broader frameworks of Biblical learning and Greco-Roman history. They produced a diverse topographical literature that includes origin-legends for population groups; poetry and prose constructing a history of placenames and landscapes; and entertaining narratives concerning the wanderings and adventures of heroes, kings and pilgrims. Alongside these works are tales that involve travel to a supernatural Otherworld or Christian visions of heaven and hell. Students will explore how the theme of real and imagined journeys, both physical and spiritual, could be used as a literary device to hold a critical mirror to human behaviour and to respond to various political, cultural, religious and economic changes in early medieval Ireland. They will also consider how ideas about voluntary and involuntary exile, migration and geography could – as they can still – shape a people and its culture. All texts will be read through English translation; no prior knowledge of the Irish language is required. This module will also include a field trip to the National Gallery to view archival maps and other documents relating to the topography of medieval Ireland.

Open Learning Outcomes
Open Teaching & Learning methods
Open Assessment
Open Autumn Supplementals/Resits
Open Timetable
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