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Article

Representation of the tales of the Ulster Cycle in Foras Feasa ar Éirinn: sources and features of the retellings

Studia Hibernica. 2018. Vol. 44. P. 1-33.

This article deals with the representation of tales of the Ulster Cycle in Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, written by Geoffrey Keating in the seventeenth century. Among the sources of retellings of these stories, the article focuses on that copied in Cambridge McClean MS 187, which may have been the Black Book of Molaga, the hypothetical primary source of the death tales reproduced in Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, of which editors and students of the Ulster Cycle have not been aware. On closer examination it becomes evident that the tales as represented in Keating’s work and McClean 187, as well as other tales included in the Foras, were reworkings of earlier variants of the tales. Keating did not merely copy his primary sources but rather revised them: he either rearranged the plot of the original story or modified it in accordance with his own authorial intentions.