Friday, June 22, 2007

Old Irish Online: Compert Con Culainn

U. of Texas, Linguistics Research Center, has a webpage with the Compert Con Culainn ("The Conception of Chú Chulainn"), a beginner's text offering we daunted novices scholarly assistance with this daunting tongue. The UT's LRC's founded by Winifred P. Lehmann (a "he!") a fine translator of OI. His wife, Ruth P.M. Lehmann, crafted an accurate Beowulf. (Ruth's version's one of the closest to the feel of the Old English, along with the looser but readable Kevin Crossley-Holland; Seamus Heaney's quite fluent with the Anglo-Saxon rhythm, but as with many renowned poets, his own prize-winning power of verse transforms the original's severe stomp into his own mellifluous medium, whereas Lehmann allows the clanging clash of the OE via ModE vocal volume.) Both letter-loving L's collaborated on the brave but for me still too technical MLA "Introduction to Old Irish."

Scholarly collaboration. Heaney and his brother-in-law Barry Devlin in Horslips retelling deeds of medieval heroes. (The image from the UDA's mural in Belfast, the complicated legacy that allows factions to compete over heroic lineage and, as Horslips sang about Ferdia and Cú Chulainn, to meet in battle over control of the same small turf.) Our debate over Ulster's cycles of tale-telling and of violence bear witness, I may add as an academic and diasporic outlier but still an indie scholar of both Irish language and pop culture, to the need for instruction in these sources, whether at UCD, UT, or here via the Web and Come Back Horslips and HorsLit.

Me and my wife have our own pillow talk, shades of the Táin, not of bigger bulls but perhaps grander b.s., over the future impact of secular doubt and spiritual certitude that we witness. Come to think of it, day before my anniversary #16, my wife's name sort of fits "lainn" and mine, naturally, the "cú" not to mention my nom de plume meets birth surname as Fionn. So, fittingly, we match up with this OI conflation in terms of their term for our hero CC.

Thanks to googling for an image for "Old Irish myth," which you can see in the post immediately prior to this one today, I stumbled serendipitously upon a (now newly linked) blog, Atalanta Fvgiens, and its own OI entries, which directed me hither to Austin's cyber archive. There's ten OI texts, all brief with translations and annotations. Including two that Horslips fans will enjoy: Lebor Gábala Érinn, a.k.a. Book of Invasions, and a wee Táin, this one not from Cualnge but a Táin Bo Regamna. Also here, a map of the Isles, language family overviews, and connections with other Indo-European groups. Well done. I'd been looking for such, but never found this until now. Perhaps my former classmate The Digital Medievalist (searchable via earlier mentions on my blog) can add a UT tag to her own blog to guide the Net's OI learners in turn?

1 comment:

harry said...

"Winifred" who is a man! Increasingly I feel I am an old man from a past era... like my grandmother with lace sleeves playing horrendous piano pieces named something like Hiawatha's Wedding. Now I am that old to some of these addled and numb kids. And so are you old friend. aL‡ breithe mhaith agat! and godspeed you old tweedy eccentric.