Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Comparative Celtic Literature
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3,000 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  70%
Supplementary Assessment 3,000 word essay  Candidates will be required to retake the element(s) they fail  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  Candidates will be required to retake the element(s) they fail  70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

understand the history of the concept of Celtic literature and some of the ideological issues connected with it

be able to discuss, with concrete examples from more than one Celtic language, some of the specific common features of medieval Celtic literatures

to grasp the complexities of the relationship between these literatures and other world literatures.

Brief description

This module studies literatures in the Celtic languages, particularly Irish and Welsh, focusing on the medieval period. It considers the ideological background to the development of the concept of Celtic literature, as well as issues of contact between the literatures in the Middle Ages, and the implications of the differences between them for the concept of Celticity. Specific issues addressed include: the question of archaic survivals in medieval texts from Wales and Ireland; how to distinguish cognate developments from later borrowings; some widespread motifs in Celtic literatures.


• Introduction: the question of ‘Celticity’
• Ernest Renan, Matthew Arnold, Romanticism and the ‘invention’ of Celtic literature (two sessions)
• Solar deities and culture heroes: the Indo-European context
• Nativists, anti-nativists, and post-anti-nativists
• The Bard: Celtica, Indo-Europa, and beyond (two sessions)
• Common developments in Welsh and Irish poetry
• Prosimetrum and other ‘archaisms’ reconsidered
• Inter-Celtic borrowings I: methodological issues
• Inter-Celtic borrowings II: case studies from the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (two sessions)
• Breton folklore and early Welsh poetry
• The Wild Man in Celtic literatures (two sessions)
• The Raid on the Otherworld in Celtic literatures

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not relevant
Communication Written: clear articulation of ideas and analysis in written assignments. Verbal: class contribution, presentation and interaction.
Improving own Learning and Performance By independent research; tutor feedback on written work and oral contribution in class; interaction of peers during seminar; developing time/work management skills; reflecting upon presentational skills and other written work.
Information Technology For research purposes (assignments and presentations); word-processing. Using electronic research and bibliographic resources; accessing Blackboard for course materials.
Personal Development and Career planning Not relevant
Problem solving By critical engagement (verbal and written) with intellectual concepts.
Research skills Through independent research for written assessment, presentation and oral contribution in class. Using electronic research and bibliographical resources
Subject Specific Skills Getting to grips with concepts relating to Celtic literature
Team work Not relevant


This module is at CQFW Level 6