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Sarah Künzler M.A., M.Phil (Dublin)

Losing the Brain of Forgetfulness: Memory in Early Irish Literature

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies

Sarah Künzler studied interdisciplinary medieval studies at the Universität Zürich (MA) and also holds an M.Phil. in Medieval Language, Literature and Culture from Trinity College Dublin, which (funded by an Irish Government Scholarship). She recently completed her dissertation on bodies in mediality discourse in early Irish and Old Norse-Icelandic literature at the Universität Zürich. In Spring 2016, she commenced an early-career post-doctoral research project at the Department of Irish and Celtic Languages, Trinity College Dublin. Her project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, examines processes of remembering in early Irish literature. It offers critical readings of selected texts in which individual cognitive processes such as remembering and forgetting and cultural phenomena interact in terms of a temporal, spatial and social structuring of the narrated worlds. The aim is to link these readings to theoretical approaches to memory studies which will help to understand medieval Irish ideas about memory in an interdisciplinary context. At the moment, Sarah is concentrating on the literary representations of ogam stones (ogam-inscribed pillar-stones usually raised in the spot where a warrior dies), which are central in the creation of spaces where memory crystallizes, an idea similar to Pierre Nora’s concept of the lieux de mémoire (‘sites of memory’).