Proinsias Mac Cana (1926-2004)

[formerly Francis McCann]; b. Belfast, ed. QUB and Sorbonne, where he studied under George Dumezil, and encountered Michel Foucault; joined QUB Celtic Dept., 1951; Lect. in Irish, Welsh Dept., Univ. of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1955; joined Institute of Advanced Studies, Dublin [DIAS], 1961; issued Celtic Mythology (1970), a standard reference work and an inspiration to Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, and others; appt. to Chair of Welsh, UCD, 1963; appt. to Chair of Early Irish, 1971; contrib. essay on Mabinogi [Writers of Wales Ser.] (1977);
appt. Senior Professor at DIAS, 1985- ; Director of the Institute, 1986-87; served on the Board of the Foundation for Celtic and Irish Studies, 1989- ; wrote num. articles on syntax of Welsh and Irish and early Welsh poetry; lectured in Cork on the ‘The Early Irish Concept of Unity’, 1973, and subsequently published in The Crane Bag (1978), and reissued in The Irish Mind, ed. Richard Kearney (1984); he issued a history of the Irish College, Paris (2001); sometime Chairman of the Friends of the Irish College, Paris; d. May 2004. DIW OCWL


Monographs, Scéalaíocht na Ríthe [Cycle of Kings in Mod. Irish], with Tomás Ó Floinn (1956), ill. Mícheál Mac Liammóir; The Learned Tales of Medieval Ireland [The Medieval Story-teller] (1980); Branwen Daughter of Llyr (Cardiff 1958) [commentary on second branch of Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi]; Celtic Mythology (London: Hamlyn 1970; 1973), 136pp. [ill.; infra]; Collège des Irlandais: Paris and Irish Studies (DIAS 2001), 204pp.

See full texts and extracts in RICORSO > Library, “Critical Classics

1] Celtic Mythology (1970; 1973) [details & text];
2] ‘Early Irish Ideology and the Concept of Unity’ [1978] (rev. vers. 1984) [text].

Journal contributions incl. ‘Notes on the Early Irish Concept of Unity’, in The Crane Bag (Vol. 2, 1&2, 1978), rep. in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies (Dublin: Blackwater 1982), pp.205-19; rev. as ‘Early Irish Ideology and the Concept of Unity’, in The Irish Mind: Exploring Intellectual Traditions, ed. Richard Kearney (Dublin: Wolfhound 1984), pp.56-78 & Notes, p.323 [full text]; ‘The Ingen Moel’, in Eriú, Vol. 52 (2001), pp 217-27.

Celtic Mythology (London: Hamlyn 1970; 1973), 136pp.
Introduction [11]; The rise of the Celts [11]; The decline of the Celts [11]; The conservators of tradition [14]; The sources [16]; The diversity of Celtic mythology [18]; Gaulish gods and insular equivalents [23]; The Tuatha Dé Danann [57]: The Book of Invasions [57]; The Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh [58]; The coming of the Gaels [64]; The retreat of the Tuatha Dé [64]; The Dagdha [66]; Irish Nuadha: Welsh Nudd [67]; Manannán Mac Lir [69] The god of Britain [75]; The goddesses of the insular Celts [85]: Medhbh of Connacht [85]; Goddesses of war [86]; Macha [90]; Goddesses of the happy otherworld [91]; Édaín [91]; The goddess of sovereignty [94]; The heroic tradition [97]; The Ulster cycle [97]; The foretales: Deirdre and the sons of Uisnech [97]; The Feast of Briciu [99]; Cú Cuchlainn [101]; The Fionn Cycle [101]; The elopement of Diarmaid and Gráinne [110]; Fionn and Arthur [115].Sacral kingship [117]; The otherworld [123]: The Feast of Samhain [126]; The land of the dead [128].; The integral tradition [131]; Further reading [138]; Acknowledgements [138]; Index [139].
—For full text of the Introduction, go to RICORSO, Library, “Classic Criticism”, infra.


See Oxford Companion to Welsh Literature.

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