The Odyssey of Brendan Kennelly: a contemporary Ulysses setting sail for an Irish imram

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The essay aims at investigating the presence of classic epic topoi in irish literature. The focus is on two novels by a contemporary Irish writer, Brendan Kennelly. In The Crooked Cross (1963), the microcosm of a typical Irish village with its oral tradition, its folkloric and legendary material, supplies a fertile soil of cultural, literary and stylistic interrelations suggesting an interesting underlying crosscultural communication. In The Florentines (1967), Ireland is portrayed while getting into contact with other cultures and languages; this encounter is a chance offered to Ireland to widen its "local" horizon and know itself better while revealing its peculiar universality. The focus of my analysis will be on the theme of the sea voyage. The description of the short sea voyage from Ireland to England in The Florentines, reminds the reader of Ireland’s own traditional Odyssey: one of the chief types of ancient Irish literature, shared by other orally-based literatures, is in fact the imram or voluntary sea expedition story. Besides, the process of translating Kennelly's novel The Florentines into Italian has implied a continuous confrontation between the two languages and cultures. The translation has offered a chance to unearth shared literary and cultural links that trace back to Ireland's own historical and mythological past.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHellenu Mantojums
Numero di pagine16
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2008


  • Kennelly
  • Odyssey
  • imram


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