In recent years Brendan's voyage has become increasingly popular as a topic of interest, not only in medieval studies, but also within the history of travel literature in general. One of the legend's charms is that it can be read in a number of ways: as a thinly disguised account of Irish travels and discoveries in the Atlantic, as a seafaring story in the fashion of the Irish immrama (literally 'rowings out'), or as an allegorical tale of Man's journey through life. It also has links with the monastic culture of its day, and contains echoes of the Odyssey and the Aeneid, Sinbad the Sailor and the quest for the Holy Grail.Barron and Burgess's volume collects the most important versions of the voyage from a wide variety of cultures, and presents them in modern English translations together with a general introduction to Brendan, explanatory commentaries and an extensive bibliography.This new paperback edition also includes a comprehensive index of story-elements specially devised with the Brendan student in mind to allow easy comparison of the different versions.
This collection of translations will allow diffusion of the different versions of that legend to a wide audience… One of the great stories of the Middle Ages, the Voyage of Saint Brendan will now be as easily available as other classic journey tales.
In addition to the translations, the volume also contains useful introductory commentaries to each of the versions by the translators ... The valuable introductions present to the reader the current scholarship on the authorship, manuscripts, genre, and sources of each version and are extremely useful to both the scholar and student of the Brendan by Burgess and an extensive bibliography of both criticism and manuscripts.
Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIII