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2016 Margaret Heavey Memorial Lecture ‘The Enigmatic Aspects of Hisperica Famina’ by Prof Andy Orchard (Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo Saxon, Pembroke College, Oxford)

March 3, 2016 @ 5:00 pm


March 3, 2016
5:00 pm


Charles McMunn Theatre (Arts/Science Concourse) NUI Galway

‘The Enigmatic Aspects

of the Hisperica Famina

Prof. Andy Orchard

(Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon,

Pembroke College, Oxford)

The collection of mysterious seventh-century Latin poems known as Hisperica Famina have puzzled-and outraged-readers for decades. They were reviled by the scholar and patriot EÌ_in MacNeill, who memorably called them the ‰Û÷luxuriant culture-fungus of decay’, but they were admired by Umberto Eco, who likened them to a Medieval version of Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Above all, however, they have remained a mystery. Were they truly written in Ireland? Or Britain? Or even Brittany? What is the origin of their obscure, labyrinthine and inventive language? Are they serious or an elaborate literary joke?

Prof. Andy Orchard from Oxford University will address some of the questions that still surround this fascinating and perplexing group of poems in his 2016 Margaret Heavey Memorial Lecture, “The Enigmatic Aspects of the Hisperica Famina“. Prof. Orchard is an eminent Medievalist and Anglo-Saxonist who, among his numerous publications, also produced an important re-assessment of the texts in question (‰Û÷The Hisperica Famina as Literature’, in The Journal of Medieval Latin 10 (2000), pp. 1-45).

Prof. Orchard’s lecture will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, 3 March, in the Charles McMunn Theatre (Arts/Science Concourse), NUI Galway, as part of the Margaret Heavey Memorial Lectures series. These lectures are annual events hosted by the Discipline of Classics in NUI, Galway to commemorate the life and work of Margaret Heavey (1908-1980), Lecturer and then Professor of Classics at UCG between 1931 and 1977, as well as Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1970 to 1976.

The lecture is kindly sponsored by the NUIG College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the Discipline of English, and the Classics Society.