Darogan: Prophecy, lament and absent heroes in medieval Welsh literature

Aled Llion Jones
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This book focuses on the prophetic poetry and prose of the earliest Welsh-language manuscripts, exploring the complexity of a literary tradition simultaneously apocalyptic, eschatological, multilingual, nationalist and interethnic.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2677-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xxiv)

    Until the late Middle Ages the role of the professional Welsh poet by convention and by Law. Poetry and politics were one, and the cultural genealogy of the poet proved the origin of his art in prophecy and divinity.¹ That aside, full engagement with the mode of prophecy is rarely seen in the surviving work of the court poets – or, at the very least, it may be said that the manuscripts (with important exceptions) rarely link the names of these poets with prophetic pieces: the pro phetic ‘origins’ are generally more implicit, more profound, and certainly more intriguing. It is...

  5. 1 Prophecy, apocalypse and return
    (pp. 1-64)

    British history is apocalyptic history, and Welsh literature refects this. The island of Britain was – in one tradition – revealed as a Promised Land in a visionary dream to its founder, and human sovereignty was assured on the defeat of the giant Gogmagog, when the island was given it6s name.¹ Prophecy and apocalypse go hand in hand in this foundation legend, and such apocalypse is refigured repeatedly in the literature as the legendary (and perhaps mythical)² sovereignty of Britain is lost and relost, A constant backdrop,³ it takes centre stage in many of the most monumental works, most famously in the...

  6. 2 Praise, lament and silence
    (pp. 65-116)

    In 1584, a historian looked back through three or four centuries to the origins of poetry as practised in Wales:

    [Gruffudd ap Cynan, d. 1137] reformed the disordered behauior of the Welsh minstrels, by a verie good Statute which is extant to this daie . . .

    There are three sorts of minstrels in Wales.

    1. The first sort namedBeirdh,which are makers of Songs and Order

    of sundrie measures, wherein not onelie great skill and cunning is required, but also a certeine natural inclination and gift, which in Latine is termed Furor Poeticus. These do also keepe records...

  7. 3 Manuscripts, multilingualism and fragmentation
    (pp. 117-150)

    This section presents a focused survey of the medieval manuscripts; it provides context for the study of thedaroganauand specifically those of a single manuscript. In the following sections the focus narrows to discuss in more detail the trilingual contents of Peniarth MS 50,Y Cwta Cyfarwydd, and specifically the works associated with ‘Rhys Fardd’. The evidence discussed is presented in the lists and tables found in the appendices.

    Most of my interpretative categories are heuristic devices, and also somewhat hesitant. The major entities are less than certain, since the identity of a ‘manuscript’ is often as unstable as...

  8. 4 Rhys Fardd, ventriloquy and pseudonymity
    (pp. 151-228)

    What is the historical vision of thedarogan?What might be said about the distinction (if any) between history and literature witnessed in the medieval Welsh manuscripts? Given that there has been no developed study of the rhetoric¹ of Welsh literature, to answer such questions fully would require a far more detailed study of Welsh historiography than the current limited selection of codices and texts.² Such a question does indeed call for a full-scale study of representation in medieval Welsh literature. Predictably, I may make no claim to comprehensiveness as I outline a few ways of reading and interpreting the...

  9. Conclusion History split and promises unmade
    (pp. 229-238)

    Reading thedaroganas an allegorical mode of literature – and one whose allegory is potentially theological – requires a sharpening of the question of the relation of the political prophecy to the eschato logical, and specifically how this ‘political eschatology’ fits into the wider context of Christs’s own return. The crux here is the extent to which history itself which history itself (or a species of history) comes to an end with the return of the son of prophecy. That is, does the temportality of prophyecy, in its collapse of present, past and future, necessarity imply a theological reading or a...

  10. Appendix 1: Manuscripts containing darogan
    (pp. 239-242)
  11. Appendix 2: Tables of manuscripts and their contents
    (pp. 243-260)
  12. Appendix 3: Prophecies of Rhys Fardd in pre-c. 1540 manuscripts
    (pp. 261-266)
  13. Appendix 4: Bilingual manuscripts containing prophetic material
    (pp. 267-272)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 273-308)
  15. Index
    (pp. 309-317)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 318-318)