Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh those Victorian sources...

Alas, it is still a work in progress, though I now find myself with a good deal of free time as I am free of classes for three weeks. I have started thoroughly reading through a good number of texts, and am finding a lot of very useful information.

However, I am also continually reminded of the hindrance that comes from relying on sources from the late 19th century. I can easily look past the sun worship references, that is very easy. It is all the other little Victorian biases which are so glaring as to make me have to really dig for useful info. A "Fijian" tribe of aborigines practiced cannibalism, as apparently all other barbaric savages, and so it is to be expected that the early Irish, being only slightly removed from such status would have done likewise. Oh, and tying the Fomorii, Fir Bolg and Tuatha De Danann to the extent that remains found MUST relate to this or that story we happen to have, are amusing at first, but soon become very irritating.

At least the bits pertaining to what was then contemporary folk practices is a lot more useful once you get used to the unabashed "anti-Irish racism" (you'd think someone would have come up with a better term for this by now?) and general superior attitude so common among Anglo commentators. Still, with little recourse, and a very critical eye, and an inordinate amount of cross checking with more modern sources, I am learning quite a lot which will be of great use overall.

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