Show Less
Restricted access

The Blessed and the Damned

Sinful Women and Unbaptised Children in Irish Folklore

Anne O'Connor

The Irish folklore of the Otherworld is rich in its many manifestations of supernatural beings and personages. This is represented in many different genres of folklore, such as folktales, legends, ballads, memorates, beliefs and belief statements, and exists within the context of rich literary, historical and imaginative parallels.
This book presents a new reading of Irish religious belief and legend in a meaningful socio-historical context, examining popular belief and narratives of sinful women and unbaptised children, as a way of understanding a particular worldview in Irish society. Blending postmodern approaches with traditional methodologies, the author reviews the representation of women, sin and repentance in Irish folklore.
The author suggests new ways of seeing this legend material, indicating strong links between the Irish and the French, specifically Breton, religious tradition, and tracing the nature of this inter-relationship through the post-Tridentine Counter Reformation Roman Catholic Church and its teachings. In this way aspects of Ireland’s popular religious and cultural inheritance are examined.
Contents: Irish Folklore Scholarship today – Irish Religious Lore and Legend – Tradition, Memory and Identity – The Restless Souls of Unbaptised Children in European Folklore – Legends of the Blessed and the Damned – Dead-Child Revenant Legends - Nordic, French and Irish – Child Murderess Revenants, ‘Petticoat Loose’ and Sister Spirits – Irish Religious Tradition in a Comparative Historical Context – Dominant versus Alternative Readings.