Narrative Techniques in Irish and Welsh, II: The Riddling ‘Watchman Device’

Patrick Sims‐Williams

in Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199588657
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595431 | DOI:
Narrative Techniques in Irish and Welsh, II: The Riddling ‘Watchman Device’

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With particular reference to Togail Bruidne Da Derga and Branwen this chapter discusses the narrative technique called the ‘Watchman Device’. It is illustrated from Homer, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, the Shahnama, the Mahabharata, Laxdœla saga, Thithreks saga, the Bórama, Táin Bó Cúailnge, Serbian and Scottish Gaelic ballads, and even Kenneth Grahame. The Irish and Welsh examples have undergone the influence, perhaps independently, of the ‘Slavic Antithesis’ of Chapter 4 and of international landscape riddles. Riddles from around the world are compared and the relationship beween riddle, metaphor, kenning, and myth is discussed.

Keywords: Togail Bruidne Da Derga; Branwen; ‘Watchman Device’; Homer; Statius; Valerius Flaccus; Shahnama; Mahabharata; Laxdœla saga; Thithreks saga; Bórama; Táin Bó Cúailnge; Serbian ballads; Scottish Gaelic ballads; Kenneth Grahame; landscape riddles; kenning

Chapter.  22901 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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