May I add, I am just reading Benozzo on landscape & gnomic collocation
in Celtic Lit and it seems like that's what we've got here. The initial
pinning to a place: the lake, and then this cryptic conversation that
describes a place two ways--in land terms and water terms. I'm seeing
the pattern--what it means I don't know, but it has something to do with
shifting perception that opens one up to wisdom.
Interesting that we're given the gawking clueless audience in the
background--people we, the uninitiated, can identify with?
I suspect Benozzo would say that the arcane knowledge is left out
because it is not the point--that Columcill and the youth are sharing
their ability to apply a special poetic eye, a way of seeing, to the
world(s)that the others, and presunably we, cannot. The point is their
doing this, not what it tells them if it tells them anything?
And so, similarly, it wouldn't matter that Mongan's frenzy is never
explained...but it could explain his silence on it. Maybe his wife, like
Columcille's audience, is better not to know it, and maybe the story is
the narrative chicane he takes to not reveal it? In short, in the youth
story and the Mongan story, we're set up to witness a conversation
taking place that we're most pointedly not made privy to in any
conventional sense, but we do see its manner. And maybe the manner is
the real business, for those with eyes to see.
That what looks like indirection or misdirection is something vital...
I have to look at that Mongan story again...
David Stifter wrote:
> Dennis wrote:
>>The forum is now open to questions and comments about the text and
> Two feature of the texts, which may look surprising at first, are,
> one, its shortness, and, two, its unconcreteness. By the latter
> feature I mean the fact that we, the readers, do not actually get to
> know what arcane knowledge the young man told the saint.
> Both features recur in other tales that presumably go back to the
> lost MS "Cín Dromma Snechtai" (late 7th or early 8th century). They
> are all very short, and many of them stand out by either being
> outspoken, but in a deliberately obscure fashion (Verba Scáthaige,
> and Immacallam in Druad Brain 7 inna Banf*átho Febuil (IDBBF) - a
> text that surely stands in some relation to ICCO), or by being not
> obscure, but not outspoken either. The latter is true of our text
> ICCO, and for example of Tucait Baile Mongáin (TBM) "The Reason for
> Mongáns Frenzy": The short narrative tells in a very straightforward
> fashion the totally irrelevant tale of how Mongán came to tell his
> earlier adventures to his wife. Unfortunately, we never get to know
> what his earlier adventures and his frenzy were.