IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 806: The Power of Words in Early Medieval Insular Cultures: An Interdisciplinary Survey

Tuesday 12 July 2005, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Harriet Thomsett, Department of Early & Medieval Irish, University College Cork
Moderator/Chair:Sheila M. Boll, AHRB Centre for Irish & Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen
Paper 806-aHow to Get Drunk on Words: The Hisperica Famina, Aldhelm, and Bede
(Language: English)
Verity L. Allan, St Cross College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Rhetoric, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 806-bMadness, Metaphor, and Early Medieval England: What Can We Do with Words and What Can Words Do for Us?
(Language: English)
Alaric Hall, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Medicine, Mentalities
Paper 806-cWaking the Dead: The Recovery of Táin Bó Cuailnge
(Language: English)
Harriet Thomsett, Department of Early & Medieval Irish, University College Cork
Index terms: Language and Literature - Celtic, Literacy and Orality, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Abstract

The concept of the intrinsic power of words to bring about various effects is pervasive throughout medieval thought. This session will consider this issue from the perspective of three contrasting but comparable literatures from the insular medieval world. It will illustrate the wide range of ways in which words could be used – to heal, to rediscover the past, to intoxicate the mind – but will also demonstrate that there are notable shared features between the different cultures, particularly a belief in the innate qualities embodied in poetry by virtue of its very form.