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Medieval Ireland And Iceland—Worlds Apart?

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Chapter Summary

Medieval Ireland and Iceland both possess a rich early vernacular literature. Since early medieval Irish history begins almost half a millennium before early medieval Icelandic history, a possible connection between the two vernacular literatures would necessarily imply an Irish influence on Icelandic society. This chapter argues that recent research in the field of human genetics has immeasurably strengthened this hypothesis. In addition to that, vernacular literature is considered as just one manifestation of a more wide-ranging oral culture. Because oral culture can be investigated most profitably in these two societies, the chapter concentrates on Ireland and Iceland in the hope that ensuing case studies may in turn stimulate research of oral culture in other societies.

Keywords: early vernacular literature; human genetics; medieval Iceland; medieval Ireland



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