Magic in Celtic lands

Authored by: Mark Williams

The Routledge History of Medieval Magic

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781472447302
eBook ISBN: 9781315613192
Adobe ISBN:


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Research into literary and historical magic in the Celtic countries is at an early stage, so much so that even the scale and parameters of the problem remain unclear. This state of affairs is a legacy of the early days of Celtic Studies, in which Victorian critics took the view that the fantastic and supernatural were defining characteristics of the literatures of medieval Wales and Ireland, and that the “Celtic race” (so called) possessed an essential kinship with the irrational. 1 In counter-reaction to excitable notions of this kind, Celtic scholarship has traditionally focused on empirical linguistic, historical and textual issues. The production of literary criticism per se has been spasmodic, and as a result the analysis of the Celtic supernatural – potentially spectacularly rich – is one area among many that have lain in neglect.

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