The Celtic Bard in Ireland and Britain: Blindness and Second Sight

Edward Larrissy

in The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748632817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651696 | DOI:
The Celtic Bard in Ireland and Britain: Blindness and Second Sight

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This chapter examines physical blindness and ‘second sight’, which could be linked to the Celtic bard and become markers of a poetic or prophetic vision that is apparently common in Celtic countries. It begins with an introduction of the blind harper, which was first presented by Richard Stainhurst in his De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis. The chapter studies the use of the belief in ‘second sight’ in literature, and discusses the concept of ‘bardic nationalism’. It concludes that the idea of blindness allows the Celtic to be absorbed in powerful forms into the post-Lockeian world of association and memory.

Keywords: physical blindness; second sight; Celtic bard; blind harper; bardic nationalism; post-Lockeian; association and memory

Chapter.  12194 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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