Book Series Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe, vol. 30

Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages

Aisling Byrne, Victoria Flood (eds)

  • Pages: viii + 332 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 b/w, 4 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2019

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56673-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56712-9
  • E-book
  • Available

Explores cultural connections between and across Britain, Ireland, and Iceland from the high to late Middle Ages, with a particular focus on literary transmission and translation.


Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages is a cohesive collection that makes a compelling case for both the intellectual vibrancy of the insular northwest Atlantic as a region and the importance of multilingualism in it. This volume will be welcomed by specialists and newcomers to the field alike. I expect that it will be widely cited and hope that it will inspire similar studies in the future.” (Lindy Brady, in The Medieval Review, 20.08.42)

“The book is a laboratory where not only the contributions connect to each other, but offers new horizons and new perspectives of research.” (Veronica De Duonni, in Ceræ: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 8, 2021, p. 95)


This volume offers an in-depth exploration of the cultural connections between and across Britain, Ireland, and Iceland during the high and late Middle Ages. Drawing together new research from international scholars working in Celtic Studies, Norse, and English, the contributions gathered together here establish the coherence of the medieval Insular world as an area for literary analysis and engage with a range of contemporary approaches to examine the ways, and the degrees to which, Insular literatures and cultures connect both with each other, and with the wider European mainstream.

The articles in this collection discuss the Insular histories of some of the most widely read literary works and authors of the Middle Ages, including Geoffrey of Monmouth and William Langland. They trace the legends of Troy and of Charlemagne as they travelled across linguistic and geographical borders, give fresh attention to the multilingual manuscript collections of great households and families, and explore the political implications of language choice in a linguistically plural society. In doing so, they shed light on a complex network of literary and cultural connections and establish the Insular world not as a periphery, but as a centre.


Insular Connections and Comparisons in the Later Middle Ages — AISLING BYRNE AND VICTORIA FLOOD

The Red Book and the White: Gentry Libraries in Medieval Wales — HELEN FULTON

Medical Texts in Welsh Translation: Y Pedwar Gwlybwr and Rhinweddau Bwydydd — ELENA PARINA

Early Tudor Translation of English Prophecy in Wales — VICTORIA FLOOD

Propaganda or Parody? Latin Abuse Poetry from the Hundred Years War — JOANNA BELLIS

Contrapuntal Alliteration in Piers Plowman and Skaldic Poetry — RORY MCTURK

Gabháltais Shearluis Mhóir in its Irish and Insular contexts — ERICH POPPE

Translating the Crusades in Late Medieval Ireland — AISLING BYRNE

Removing the Muses: Responses to Statian Subjectivity in the Middle Irish Thebaid — MARIAMNE BRIGGS

Heroic Traditions in Dialogue: The Imtheachta Aeniasa — JULIE LEBLANC

Iceland and the Land of Women: The Norse Glæsisvellir and the Otherworld Islands of Early Irish Literature — MATTHIAS EGELER

Empire of Emotion: The Formation of Emotive Literary Identities and Mentalities in the North — SIF RIKHARDSDOTTIR

The Latin Connection: Geoffrey of Monmouth in Iceland — SARAH BACCIANTI

An Ideal Nobleman: Transformations of the Classical Hero Hercules in the Old Norse Trójumanna saga — SABINE HEIDI WALTHER