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The Destruction of Da Derga's HostelKingship and Narrative Artistry in a Mediaeval Irish Saga$
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Ralph O'Connor

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199666133

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199666133.001.0001

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The House of Death

The House of Death

Chapter:
(p.129) 5 The House of Death
Source:
The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel
Author(s):

Ralph O'Connor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199666133.003.0006

The momentum of the first half of the saga is further sustained by devices which underscore the perceptions of the protagonists involved. Besides formal prophecies, Conaire's last journey is punctuated by omens which present him (and us) with signs of the coming catastrophe. He and his companions respond with mounting fear. Supernatural beings proliferate and human characters take on Otherworldly attributes, transforming Da Derga's Hall into a sinister otherworldly location in its own right. These apparitions become increasingly formulaic, not because the author lacked imagination, but in order to make the meaning of the catastrophe increasingly evident. Simultaneously, Conaire and his foster‐brothers are shown responding to signs of each other's approach by means of alternating narratorial viewpoints, increasingly representing events through the direct speech of those involved. Often mistaken for evidence of clumsy compilation, this technique provides a bridge between the first and second halves of the saga.

Keywords:   Da Derga, hostel, momentum, otherworld, myth, omen, fear, fate, formulae, interlace

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