Johan Corthals (Hamburg University), July 2017
MsOmit, that is 'Manuscript Sources to Old and Middle Irish Tales', is meant to be a tool for facilitating research on Early Irish prose and prose-and-verse tales. What has been preserved from the Early Middle Ages and how has this come down to us? What has been edited in the context of modern scholarship and what editorial policies have thereby been applied? What could still be done in the way of grouping and editing this material? This version of 2017 replaces former versions, which appeared 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2010.
Although some effort has been made to cover the subject as completely as possible, it is realized that the choice of texts will be debatable at several places. This is due to the fact that the very concept of 'Early Irish Tales', although still very popular, is somehow artificial. In this area of research there is really no clear and tangible borderline between early and modern, between tale and legend, between prose-tale and verse-tale.
Suggestions for improvement and information on additional material are welcome (firstname.lastname@example.org). A printed text is available at the Amazon website under the title MsOmit 2017: Manuscript Sources to Old and Middle Irish Tales.
Contents of MsOmit
1. A list of Early Medieval narrative texts in Irish language until approximately 1150 with (a) references to their medieval and early modern manuscript sources (with a few exceptions until the 17th c.) and (b) information about their availability in print (with a few exceptions from ca. 1870).
2. A list of abbreviated manuscript names which appear in the list of narrative texts together with a short explanation and a reference mostly to the corresponding library catalogues and, as the case may be, to facsimiles and diplomatic editions.
- Almost all references have been checked against microfilms or facsimiles. Today, many if not most of these manuscripts can be consulted online by photographic reproductions made available by Irish Script on Screen (ISOS, isos.dias.ie) and Early Manuscripts at Oxford University (image.ox.ac.uk).
- Unpublished editions and online texts have here not been referred to.
- If a manuscript has several paginations, as a rule the pagination referred to in the relevant manuscript catalogue is cited. R stands for 'recto' and V for 'verso'; a and b stand for 'first column' and 'second column' respectively.
- A facsimile's pagination is added only where this differs from the basic pagination of the manuscript. These additions are now partly made obsolete by the existence of the aforementioned online reproductions. However, nothing seems to me to be lost by letting this information stand.
- The diplomatic editions of Lebor na hUidre (Dublin, 1929) and the Book of Leinster (Lebar na Núachongbála) (6 vols., Dublin, 1954-1983) are not extra referred to in the lists of editions.
- Manuscripts from the Trinity College Dublin are labeled by their old shelf numbers, those from the former Advocates' Library Edinburgh (now in the National Library of Scotland) by their old Roman numbers. These labels are linked to the newer and by now official numbers in the chapter on manuscripts. This procedure was chosen here because the old numbers are still those referred to in nearly all of the printed editions here adduced.
- A recent draft catalogue of The Gaelic manuscripts of the National Library of Scotland (2011) by Ronald Black is made available in the catalogue descriptions of the relevant manuscripts in Irish Script on Screen.
The basic research for this catalogue was greatly advanced by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft towards two short visits to Dublin in 1996 and 1997.