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A Vision

While on royal duty in Ireland with the English Prince John, Gerald of Wales, or Giraldus Cambrensis (c.1146–1220), composed his Topographia Hibernica (1186–7), Expugnatio Hibernica (1189), Itinerarium Cambriae (c.1191), and Descriptio Cambriae (c.1194). Written in vigorous, fluent Latin, the first two books detail events surrounding the establishment of English lordship in Ireland in the years after 1169, and offer comment on the terrain and fauna of Ireland as well as Irish social customs. Although this pioneering observer of the Celts was somewhat caustic about the Irish, calling them ‘barbarians’ for what he considered to be their lack of industry and disinterest in city life, he did validate their love of music. The portrait image of Giraldus forms a frontispiece to W. B. Yeats’s philosophical A Vision (1925). This copy is signed, being no. 437 of 600.

William Butler Yeats, A Vision. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1925. Brasch PR 5904 V53

University of Otago Eire a Moradh - Singing the Praises of Ireland, Special Collections Exhibition from the University of Otago Library <