Literature 3 - Tales of the Otherworld

Maynooth University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Literature 3 - Tales of the Otherworld

  • Host University

    Maynooth University

  • Location

    Dublin, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Celtic Studies, Irish Culture, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This module will introduce students to the large body of literature surviving from medieval Ireland which has a journey to the Otherworld as its central theme. This literature is diverse, ranging from entertaining prose narratives through to dense and allusive poetry. Journeys to the Otherworld can include adventures to a supernatural world within a hill or mound; voyages by boat to magical islands across the sea; or out-of-body experiences which comprise journeys through the Christian heaven and hell accompanied by an angelic guide. The literature will be studied with due attention paid to the historiographical issue of whether the Otherworld ?under the hill? represents the survival of a pre-Christian religious belief, or whether the texts which describe the Otherworld in this way view it as a purely literary device which can be used to hold a critical mirror to the real world. Texts will be read in relation to the secondary literature which examines them as complex literary compositions in their own right, as well as the literature which seeks to use the texts as evidence for a variety of religious beliefs and practices.

    Learning Outcomes:

    On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
    - Demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of medieval Irish texts which feature a journey to the Otherworld as a central narrative theme.
    - Demonstrate an understanding of a range of secondary literature and theoretical approaches to the texts.
    - Demonstrate an understanding of the potential value of the tales as sources for religious belief and practice.
    - Development of analytical, critical and essay-writing skills.

    Teaching & Learning methods:
    - Lectures: 24 hours

    - Continous Assessment: 50%
    - University scheduled written examination: 50%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.