Reference Entry

Sweeney, the Frenzy of

Edited by Dinah Birch and Katy Hooper

in The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature

Fourth edition

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199608218
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744556
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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