> Yet there are so many different shades of humour. I formulated and
> sent out my thoughts on Immacallam in dá Thúarad (I2T), because I am
> convinced it won't bring us any further just to accept it as a text
> transporting archaic and venerated contents, possibly even of druidic
I suppose that a Nativist might reply: even if it's a parody, you can't
create a parody ex nihilo. The original that is being parodied must be,
at least in remnant form, the lore of an earlier age.
In any case, what do you make of the extensive glosses? Did the person
or persons who compiled them take the text seriously? Would he have
troubled with all these seemingly earnest explanations, knowing all
along that the text was just an elaborate attempt to ridicule the
poets' jargon (bélra na filed)?
> We have to ask ourselves what could be the function of a
> text that would have been virtually unintelligeable by the
> contemporary audience (for whom it was written, after all)? Humour is
> a good guess, I think, maybe on a very absurd scale.
Perhaps it was a kind of satire, but not one cut out of whole cloth.
In other words, perhaps all these "dark" metaphorical phrases that
are strung together in the Immacallam (I2T henceforth?) were not
concocted by the parodist but rather lifted from the actual speech
of actual poets. In that case, the attack on poetic jargon, and
the humour in it, would consist entirely in the relentless piling
on of example after example -- the "absurd scale" that you speak of.
Yet at the same time, each example would be in itself perfectly
authentic -- and thus amenable to a serious gloss (and to the
serious attention of the Nativist?).
We certainly have examples of this sort of thing on the internet:
lists of hyperinflated bureaucratese*, for example, or the malapropisms
of actual politicians, which make us laugh in part because they these
lists just go on and on.
* Just yesterday someone on Gaeilge-A was looking for a translation
of "Public Sector Statutory Duty Unit", suggesting "Aonad Dualgas
Reachtúil na hEarnála Poiblí". This may be a perfectly legitimate
technical term, whatever it means, but all you'd need to do is pile
up a few dozen terms like that, arranging them with linked alliteration,
or in parallel syntactic structures, the way I2T does, and what you
would end up with is a kind of kind of cracked poetry of the absurd.
Is this then what the author of I2T was up to? I wonder...