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The History and Topography of Ireland by…
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The History and Topography of Ireland (edition 1983)

by Gerald of Wales, John O'Meara (Translator)

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311656,013 (3.56)5
Gerald of Wales was among the most dynamic and fascinating churchmen of the twelfth century. A member of one of the leading Norman families involved in the invasion of Ireland, he first visited there in 1183 and later returned in the entourage of Henry II. The resulting Topographia Hiberniae is an extraordinary account of his travels. Here he describes landscapes, fish, birds and animals; recounts the history of Ireland's rulers; and tells fantastical stories of magic wells and deadly whirlpools, strange creatures and evil spirits. Written from the point of view of an invader and reformer, this work has been rightly criticized for its portrait of a primitive land, yet it is also one of the most important sources for what is known of Ireland during the Middle Ages.… (more)
Member:konallis
Title:The History and Topography of Ireland
Authors:Gerald of Wales
Other authors:John O'Meara (Translator)
Info:Penguin Classics (1983), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:medieval literature, history, medieval history, primary source, read 2010

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The History and Topography of Ireland by Gerald de Barri

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The take away for me of this book was the reassurance that "It (Ireland) has no dragons". This must have come as a great comfort to any medieval traveller contemplating a trip to Ireland. ( )
  Northlaw | Mar 31, 2016 |
School reading... ( )
  ottilieweber | Apr 24, 2014 |
This book is a reminder that modern travel books are often better organized than their ancestors. Gerold had an axe to grind, feeling that the Welsh are better than the Irish, and a book I read on the Norman Conquest... err...Invasion of Ireland has a good deal to say about Gerald's connections with the Norman warlords involved in that action. It's a fun book, but should not be used by the serious historian ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 12, 2014 |
With the benefit of Jeffrey Cohen's On Difficult Middles, I noticed something this time around that I hadn't before: the multiple 'origins' of the Irish Gerald records in the third book. It was the bestiality that first grabbed me, but it's the historiographical and ethnic anxiety that keeps me coming back for more. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
An extremely entertaining look at medieval Ireland, written by a clergyman with a very low opinion of the Irish and their distasteful habits (irreverency, drunkenness, bad temper, heretical leanings, and a fondness for bestiality are among the many).

The joy of this book lies in the lively narrative, and its jumbled combination of folk tales, superstition, and earnest psuedo-science. The author scoffs at the idea that St. Patrick mystically drove the snakes from Ireland, and then follows that up with a perfectly serious story about a magic talking fish with three gold teeth. The illustrations are also fabulous - my favorite, adorning the subsection entitled 'Bestiality, a Particular Vice of the Irish', features a woodcut of a goat making out with a lady!

A true crowd-pleaser, with something in it for everyone. ( )
  paperloverevolution | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gerald de Barriprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Meara, John JosephIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Meara, John JosephTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Giraldus de Barri, called Cambrensis from Cambria (Wales), the country of his birth, was born at the castle of Manorbier, in Pembrokeshire, about A.D. 1146.

Introduction to the Penguin Classics rev. ed., 1982.
Ireland, the largest island beyond Britain, is situated in the western ocean about one short day's sailing from Wales, but between Ulster and Galloway in Scotland the sea narrows to half that distance.

Penguin Classics rev. ed., 1982.
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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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