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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 Text and its Authors; or, How to Write a Saga

The Text and its Authors; or, How to Write a Saga

(p.18) 1 The Text and its Authors; or, How to Write a Saga
The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel

Ralph O'Connor

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the material process of saga‐writing and authorship. The Middle Irish saga exists in several divergent manuscript versions, raising the question of whether it is possible to analyse the original version. The author shows that these versions can still be used as a composite window onto the original saga, because even the greatest variations do not affect the underlying structure and effect of the story. The Togail is set in the context of other mediaeval texts about Conaire. Scholars agree that the Togail was based on several divergent sources, leading some to suggest that the saga was not written with any artistry at all. The chapter argues that these sources were well harmonized, and that compilatory techniques were a fundamental aspect of saga artistry. This chapter provides the reader with a clear sense of the textual basis on which to explore the saga as a literary work.

Keywords:   authorship, recensions, sources, compilation, inconsistency, contradiction, manuscripts, variants, textual criticism

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