Clarke (Michael)

  • s. xx–xxi
  • (agents)
Clarke, Michael, “The manuscripts of the Irish Liber hymnorum, a bilingual anthology of sacred verse”, in: Michael Clarke, and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (eds), Medieval multilingual manuscripts: case studies from Ireland to Japan, 24, Berlin, Online: De Gruyter, 2022. 119–150.  

The Irish Liber Hymnorum is a collection of hymns and para-liturgical material contained in two glossed and richly-decorated manuscripts from the late eleventh century. The hymns themselves, and the commentary apparatus, exhibit a pattern of alternation and even virtual merger between Latin and Old Irish. It is argued here that this interaction between languages is essential to the representation of the poems as a national poetic and spiritual canon.

Clarke, Michael, and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (eds), Medieval multilingual manuscripts: case studies from Ireland to Japan, Studies in Manuscript Cultures, 24, Berlin, Online: De Gruyter, 2022.
Clarke, Michael, “The choice of Cú Chulainn and the choice of Achilles: intertextuality and the manuscripts”, North American Journal of Celtic Studies 5:1 (Spring, 2021): 1–29.  

It is a familiar cliché, even a trope, to characterise Cú Chulainn as 'the Irish Achilles' and to exemplify this by citing the shared motif of the hero choosing an early death and eternal fame in preference to a long inglorious life. Building on Brent Miles' insight that knowledge of the 'choice of Achilles' story could have come to the Irish literati through the commentary on Vergil known as Servius Auctus, this article aims to reconstruct the reading strategies that might have been applied to this text in the period when Táin bó Cúailnge was taking shape. The argument is pursued by examining two manuscripts of Servius Auctus (MSS Bern, Burgerbibliothek 167 & 172), of which other sections preserve direct evidence for Irish engagement with Virgilian poetry in the form of marginalia focussed on the word picti in connexion with the British race known as the Picts. The picti material provides the model for a hypothetical reconstruction of how the literati might have interpreted and re-contextualised the Achilles material in these or similar annotated manuscripts of Vergil. This encourages a revised assessment of how and why the makers of the Táin may have been engaging creatively with the perceived parallelism between Cú Chulainn and Achilles.

Clarke, Michael, “A Latin source for Merugud Uilix, the medieval Irish narrative of Ulysses”, Ériu 70 (2020): 95–118.  

Merugud Uilix remains an unsolved puzzle. It clearly reflects considerable Classical learning, but its stylistic character and narrative techniques are such that many readers have associated it with oral tradition and folklore. It is here proposed that the opening of the tale is an expanded translation of the section on Ulysses in the anonymous Excidium Troie, an early medieval school-text on Trojan War mythology that served as an aid to the study of Vergil's Aeneid. The author of the Merugud began from this source and extended it with other materials, taken both from Vergil-based study and from the wider resources of Irish-language narrative tradition.

Clarke, Michael, and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, “The ages of the world and the ages of man: Irish and European learning in the twelfth century”, Speculum 95:2 (2020): 467–500.  
Sections: Medieval Irish narrative: context and contacts; The six ages in theology and historiography; The Irish evidence: Sex aetates mundi; The Irish evidence: Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh; Intamlugud intliuchta: the figure of thought; The Irish evidence: summary; The Liber floridus of Lambert of Saint-Omer; The Hymns for the Paraclete of Abelard; The typological windows in Christ Church, Canterbury; The Isidorean Liber de numeris: a key intertext?; Irish and European images and intellectualism.
In the grand narrative of renewal and creativity in the Europe of the "long twelfth century," it has been easy to assume that Ireland was marginal and backward-looking, with the energy of its thinkers and writers concentrated on preserving and continuing the cultural forms of the national past. In recent scholarship, however , it has become clear that Irish intellectual life in this period was much closer to the European mainstream than was once believed. Here we present a case study in this area, concerned with the schematization of historical time and the course of human life in parallel systems of six ages. Two examples of Irish text production from the early twelfth century-one an extended marginal gloss of some theological subtlety and the other a complex heroic image in a narrative eulogy-are compared with parallel manifestations in three sources from the heart of mainstream European creativity in the period: an encyclopedic compilation of history and theology, a sequence of newly composed hymns for the Divine Office, and the iconographic program of stained-glass windows in a newly rebuilt cathedral. The parallels we draw here point to the conclusion that, despite the obvious differences in outer form, the modes of learned creativity reflected in Irish manuscript culture were closely aligned with international trends across Europe in the same period. To set this material in context, we preface our discussion with some general remarks on medieval Irish writing , before proceeding to the details of the chosen examples.
Clarke, Michael, “Merger and contrast between Latin and Medieval Irish”, in: Mícheál Ó Flaithearta, and Lars B. Nooij [ass. ed.] (eds), Code-switching in medieval Ireland and England: proceedings of a workshop on code-switching in the medieval classroom, Utrecht 29th May, 2015, 18, Bremen: Hempen Verlag, 2018. 1–32.
Clarke, Michael, “Psalm 21 and the beasts of the Ardagh Chalice”, in: Conor Newman, Mags Mannion, and Fiona Gavin (eds), Islands in a global context: proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Insular Art, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017. 24–33.
Clarke, Michael, “International influences on the later medieval development of Togail Troí”, in: Axel Harlos, and Neele Harlos (eds), Adapting texts and styles in a Celtic context: interdisciplinary perspectives on processes of literary transfer in the middle ages: studies in honour of Erich Poppe, 13, Münster: Nodus Publikationen, 2016. 75–102.
Clarke, Michael, “The Leabhar gabhála and Carolingian origin legends”, in: Pádraic Moran, and Immo Warntjes (eds), Early medieval Ireland and Europe: chronology, contacts, scholarship. A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, 14, Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. 441–479.  
The Irish Leabhar gabhála is poised between several different literary modes: conduit of ancient traditions, bogus charter of national identity, by-product of commentary on Latin cosmography and world history. Attempts to explain the themes and purposes of its earlier sections (Tracts I and II) usually focus on parallels between the story of the ancestors of the Irish and that of the Hebrews of the Old Testament. This article attempts to situate the work in the context of Carolingian global and national histories, focussing on the theme of the origins of each nation in the westward wanderings of fugitives from the classical heartlands of the eastern Mediterranean or western Asia. It is argued that the narrative of the travels of the ancesters of the Goídil (Irish) involves an implicit parallel with the travels of the ancestors of Romans, Franks, and British from the fall of Troy. The paper proposes that this parallel may have been prominent in a lost Latin version of the Leabhar gabhala of which parts are preserved as embedded quotations in hagiographical texts.
Clarke, Michael, “Demonology, allegory and translation: the Furies and the Morrígan”, in: Ralph OʼConnor (ed.), Classical literature and learning in medieval Irish narrative, 34, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014. 101–122.
Clarke, Michael, “The extended prologue of Togail Troί: from Adam to the wars of Troy”, Ériu 64 (2014): 23–106.
Clarke, Michael, “Reconstructing the medieval Irish bookshelf: a case study of Fingal Rónáin and the horse-eared kings”, in: Ralph OʼConnor (ed.), Classical literature and learning in medieval Irish narrative, 34, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014. 123–139.
Clarke, Michael, “Linguistic education and literary creativity in Medieval Ireland”, in: Patricia Ronan (ed.), Ireland and its contacts / L'Irlande et ses contacts, 38, Lausanne: Centre de linguistique et des sciences du langage, 2013. 37–70.
Clarke, Michael, “The lore of the monstrous races in the developing text of the Irish Sex aetates mundi”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 63 (Summer, 2012): 15–50.
Clarke, Michael, “Translation and transformation: a case study from medieval Irish and English”, in: Michael Clarke, and K. M. Shields (eds), Translating emotion, Oxford: Peter Lang Publications, 2011. 29–54.
Clarke, Michael, and K. M. Shields (eds), Translating emotion, Oxford: Peter Lang Publications, 2011.
Clarke, Michael, “An Irish Achilles and a Greek Cú Chulainn”, in: Ruairí Ó hUiginn, and Brian Ó Catháin (eds), Ulidia 2: proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Maynooth 24-27 July 2005, Maynooth: An Sagart, 2009. 238–251.
Clarke, Michael, “Achilles, Byrhtnoth, and Cú Chulainn: from Homer to the medieval North”, in: Michael Clarke, Bruno Currie, and Oliver Lyne (eds), Epic interactions: perspectives on Homer, Virgil and the epic tradition presented to Jasper Griffin by his pupils, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 243–272.
Clarke, Michael, Bruno Currie, and Oliver Lyne (eds), Epic interactions: perspectives on Homer, Virgil and the epic tradition presented to Jasper Griffin by his pupils, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.


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Dennis Groenewegen
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March 2018