A study of the Irish adaptation of Marco Polo's Travels from the Book of Lismore

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Palandri, Andrea
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University College Cork
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The Irish Marco Polo (IMP) is an Early Modern Irish translation and adaptaion of Francesco Pipino’s Latin translation of Marco Polo’s Travels (P) which is found between ff 121-131 of the Book of Lismore (L), or Leabhar Mhic Carthaigh Riabhaigh. This manuscript was probably compiled between 1478 and 1505 in the Franciscan friary of Timoleague in south west Cork for Fínghean Mac Carthaigh Riabhach, ruler of Cairbre, and his wife Caitilín Fitzgerald. This is a unique copy of the only known adaptation of the text in Irish. Since the original title of the text does not survive, for the purposes of this dissertation I will refer to it as ‘The Irish Marco Polo’ (IMP). The general account of Marco Polo’s journey, which was retold in many different versions, adaptations and translations across Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, will be referred to as the Travels. The objective of the present study is to assess IMP both as a contribution to Early Modern Irish literature and as a contribution to the vast and complex tradition of Marco Polo’s Travels. This dissertation attempts (1) to locate IMP in its cultural and linguistic context in late-medieval Ireland and Europe; (2) to gain a perspective of the author of IMP as a learned man operating within the parameters of Irish and European literary tradition; and (3) to establish IMP as a literary work in its own right, the product of a master of Irish literary prose who created a unique text indebted to but also independent of its textual antecedents. Approaching these objectives entailed a combination of methodologies: linguistic, paleographical, text-critical, literary and historical.
Irish Marco Polo , Gaelic Marco Polo , Irish adaptation of Marco Polo's Travels
Palandri, A. 2018. A study of the Irish adaptation of Marco Polo's Travels from the Book of Lismore. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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