Reference Entry

Sweeney, the Frenzy of

Edited by Dinah Birch

in The Oxford Companion to English Literature

Seventh edition

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780192806871
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191735066
Sweeney, the Frenzy of

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  • Literary Studies (British and Irish)


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12th‐century Irish text surviving in one 17th‐ and one 18th‐century manuscript. Mixing prose and verse, it tells of the madness that overtook Sweeney, an Ulster king, at the 7th‐century battle of Mag Rath (Moira, Co. Down) as a result of the curse of St Ronan, whose psalter he had cast into a lake. Sweeney flies from perch to perch in Ireland and Scotland, living off berries and alternately cursing his condition and praising the landscape in a series of impassioned lyrics. In ...

Reference Entry.  162 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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