The Voyage of St Brendan

BookThe Voyage of St Brendan

The Voyage of St Brendan

Representative Versions of the Legend in English Translation

Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies

2002

April 2nd, 2002

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In recent years Brendan's voyage has become increasingly popular as a topic of interest, not only in medieval studies, but also within the history of travel literature in general. One of the legend's charms is that it can be read in a number of ways: as a thinly disguised account of Irish travels and discoveries in the Atlantic, as a seafaring story in the fashion of the Irish immrama (literally 'rowings out'), or as an allegorical tale of Man's journey through life. It also has links with the monastic culture of its day, and contains echoes of the Odyssey and the Aeneid, Sinbad the Sailor and the quest for the Holy Grail.Barron and Burgess's volume collects the most important versions of the voyage from a wide variety of cultures, and presents them in modern English translations together with a general introduction to Brendan, explanatory commentaries and an extensive bibliography.This new paperback edition also includes a comprehensive index of story-elements specially devised with the Brendan student in mind to allow easy comparison of the different versions.

This collection of translations will allow diffusion of the different versions of that legend to a wide audience… One of the great stories of the Middle Ages, the Voyage of Saint Brendan will now be as easily available as other classic journey tales.
Mystics Quarterly

In addition to the translations, the volume also contains useful introductory commentaries to each of the versions by the translators ... The valuable introductions present to the reader the current scholarship on the authorship, manuscripts, genre, and sources of each version and are extremely useful to both the scholar and student of the Brendan by Burgess and an extensive bibliography of both criticism and manuscripts.
Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIII

The editors of this excellent volume, of interest to scholars in a number of fields, stress how, in recasting the original Brendan material, the writers of vernacular medieval versions of the legend seized the opportunity to explore the culture and spiritual needs of their own age.
The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies, Volume 64

One of the great stories of the Middle Ages, the Voyage of Saint Brendan will now be as easily available as other classic journey tales.
Mystics Quarterly

For medieval scholars, and for non-medievalist scholars concerned with the broad reach of utopianism (in Ireland and more broadly), this book is a rich depository of information and insight.
Utopian Studies Vol 14 no 1

Baron, Burgess, and their collaborators have assembled a very handy introduction to the Brendan legend, and, fortunately, at a modest price. For those interested in saints’ lives or the literature of travel and marvels, it is a book worth owning.
Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXXVIII, no. 3

Author Information

The late W. R. J. Barron was Senior Research Fellow in the School of English, University of Exeter. He was President of the International Arthurian Society (British Branch) and Director of its Vinaver Trust. His books include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Manchester, 1998) and Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, Vol. II (series editor) (Wales, 1999). Glyn S. Burgess is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. His Penguin Classics edition of The Lais of Marie de France has sold more than 150,000 copies. He is co-author of The Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure (with Douglas Kelly, D. S. Brewer, 2017). In 1999 he was made a Chevalier des Palmes Académiques and he is an Honorary President of the International Courtly Literature Society. The late W. R. J. Barron was Senior Research Fellow in the School of English, University of Exeter. He was President of the International Arthurian Society (British Branch) and Director of its Vinaver Trust. His books include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Manchester, 1998) and Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, Vol. II (series editor) (Wales, 1999).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Contents6
Preface8
List of Contributors11
1 The Latin Version24
Introduction24
Translation37
2 The Anglo-Norman Version76
Introduction76
Translation85
3 The Dutch Version114
Introduction114
Translation118
4 The German Version142
Introduction142
Translation145
5 The Venetian Version166
Introduction166
Translation175
6 The Occitan Version242
Introduction242
Original text and translation245
7 The Catalan Version260
Introduction260
Original text and translation263
8 The Norse Version276
Introduction276
Original text and translation279
9 English Versions288
The South English Legendary version288
Introduction288
Original text and translation295
Caxton's Golden Legendversion334
Introduction334
Text339
Notes356
Bibliography and List of Brendan Manuscripts374
Index I: Index to the Introductions392
Index II: Index to the Vernacular Versions400