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Fabulous Ireland- «Ibernia Fabulosa»

Imagining Ireland in Renaissance Italy

Eric Haywood

According to Petrarch, the Father of the Renaissance, Ireland was almost as well known to the Italians as Italy itself. Visiting Ireland from the comfort of their armchairs, his followers thus knew for a fact that the Irish ate their fathers and slept with their mothers, were welcoming and inhospitable, and were the best and the worst of Christians, and that Ireland was home to St Patrick’s Purgatory, where you could visit the otherworld, save your soul and your business, and locate your missing relatives.
This book examines Italian descriptions of Ireland in the context of the Renaissance rediscovery of ancient culture and reinvention of geography and historiography, the fashioning of the self and the other, and travel writing. The author argues that the intellectuals of the time were more interested in ‘truth for’ than in ‘truth about’ and that they imagined Ireland differently in different circumstances, populating it with their own fantasies, so that its otherness would pose no threat to their sense of self.
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AUTHORS spelt with small capitals in the footnotes to the various chapters (= authors of primary texts) are listed in Part One below. Authors spelt in lower case (= authors of secondary texts) are listed in Part Two. Only for the authors of primary texts are first names given in full.

The names of the authors are followed (in brackets) by the date of publication or republication of their works. In the case of more than one work by the same author being listed, it is that date which serves, in the footnotes, to identify the specific work that is being quoted. Where more than one work was published in the same year, the date of publication is followed by a small case letter, to indicate sequence. When the date of publication is uncertain, it is followed or substituted by a question mark. In the case of manuscripts, instead of the date, the author’s name is followed by (MS).

Where authors (or works) are also known by another name, that other name is given in square brackets after their original name.

Place of publication is given in the original language, e.g. Roma, not Rome. In the case of early printed books and manuscripts I also specify the copy/copies I consulted, since it is not uncommon for copies of the same book to differ from one another.

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