Welcome to the website for the Eleanor Knott Memorial Conference

The Department of Irish and Celtic Languages, under the rubric of the Manuscript, Book and Print Cultures research theme at Trinity College Dublin, will host an inaugural, one-day conference in honour of Prof. Eleanor Knott (1886-1975). In keeping with the academic interests of Prof. Knott, the conference will include a series of papers in Irish/English on themes from the Early to Early Modern periods of the Irish language and its literature. The conference will be held in the Neill Lecture Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub on Thursday 28 April, 2016. Further details will be posted in due course.

Eleanor Knott was appointed to the Chair of Early Irish at Trinity College Dublin in 1939 and later went on to become one of the first women to be awarded membership to the Royal Irish Academy in 1949. One of the early co-editors of Ériu, a prominent journal in Irish philology and linguistics, Eleanor Knott was known for her ‘austere’ selection process and how she expressly valued ‘quality over quantity’ (Binchy 1975: 193). Indeed, it was Prof. Knott’s own high standards and keen editorial abilities which helped her produce An Introduction to Syllabic Poetry of the Period: 1200 – 1600, still widely used by students to this day, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, an edition of Togail Bruidne Da Derga and many more publications. Of course, Eleanor Knott’s lesser-known, scholarly endeavours include her membership and contributions to Cuman na Letiriu Simplí, a group devoted to the simplification of the Irish spelling system at the turn of the 19th-century, and her work with Peadar Ó Laoghaire to produce Foclóir d’Eisirt (1910) and edit Lughaidh mac Con (1914).

Eleanor Knott was a scholar proficient in all periods of the Irish language and its literature, and a keen supporter of the Irish language revival movement at the beginning of the century. Mac Cárthaigh remarks that she was an atypical nationalist of the time, however, and that her interests lay in a ‘saoirse mhóralta’, a freedom ‘ónár gcuid drochnósanna mar náisiún’ (Mac Cárthaigh 2005: 47). Political views aside, Eleanor Knott left a legacy of sober, unbiased academic writing. Her memory represents many things in the history of Irish scholarship and Trinity College Dublin, among which are: impartial scholarship during times of intense, civil unrest; a long-standing relationship between academic institutions, in this instance, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy; and a landscape which is ever-progressing for women in academia.

To this day, both the Royal Irish Academy and the library of Trinity College Dublin house respective collections of Prof. Knott’s loose papers, notebooks and personal correspondences. Martin Fagan of the Royal Irish Academy catalogued the extensive collection of Knott’s papers in 2011. An outline of the contents of the TCD collection is available on the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library Online Catalogue.


 

Fáilte!

In 2016, beidh an chéad chomhdháil lae in ómós don Ollaimh Eleanor Knott (1886-1965) á reachtáil ag Roinn na Gaeilge agus na dTeangacha Ceilteacha, i gcomhar le Mol an tSeomra Fhada agus leis an téama taighde Cultúr Lámhscríbhinní, Leabhar agus Chló. De réir na suimeanna acadúla a bhí ag Eleanor Knott, beidh sraith pháipéirí as Gaeilge/as Béarla ar théamaí i réimse litríochta agus teangeolaíochta ón Luath- go dtí an Nua-Ghaeilge Mhoch. Reáchtálfar an chomhdháil i Léachtlann Neill, Mol an tSeomra Fhada ar an Déardaoin 28 Aibreán, 2016. Beidh tuilleadh sonraí ar fáil le himeacht ama.

Ceapadh Eleanor Knott chun Ollúnacht na Luath-Ghaeilge i gColáiste na Tríonóide sa bhliain 1939 agus nuair a bhronnadh ballraíocht in Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann uirthi in 1949, bhí sí ar na céad mhná chun an gradam sin a bhaint amach. Bhí sí ar dhuine de na céad eagarthóirí ar Ériu, irisleabhar céimiúil focleolaíochta agus teangeolaíochta na Gaeilge, agus bhí cáil uirthi mar gheall ar a próiseas roghnaithe ‘austere’, mar a deirtear, agus toisc gur mhór aici ‘quality over quantity’ (Binchy 1975: 193). Go deimhin, is mar gheall ar a hardchaighdeáin féin agus a buanna géara eagarthóireachta gur scríobh sí An Introduction to Syllabic Poetry of the Period: 1200-1600, a úsáideann scoláirí go forleathan fós, The Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn, eagrán de Togail Bruidne Da Derga agus go leor foilseachán eile. Is é a saothar scolártha is lú aithne ná a ballraíocht agus baint le Cuman na Letiriu Simplí, grúpa a chaith a dhúthracht ag simpliú an chorais litrithe ag tús an 20ú haois, agus a cuid oibre leis an Athair Peadar Ó Laoghaire; m. sh. scríobh sí Foclóir d’Eisirt (1910) agus chuir sí Lughaidh mac Con (1914) in eagar.

Ba scoláire cumasach í Eleanor Knott i ngach ré de theanga agus litríochta na Gaeilge agus thacaigh sí le hAthbheochán na Gaeilge go díocasach ag tús na haoise seo caite. Luann Mac Cárthaigh gur náisiúnaí neamhthipiciúil í Eleanor Knott, áfach, agus go raibh a leasa bunaithe ar ‘s[h]aoirse mhóralta – saoirse uainn féin agus ónár gcuid drochnósanna mar náisiún’ (Mac Cárthaigh 2005: 47). Cé is moite de thuairimí polaitaíochta, d’fhág sí scríobhneoireacht chumasach neamhchlaonta mar oidhreacht. Baineann cuimhne Eleanor Knott le hilghnéithe i stair léinn na hÉireann agus léinn Choláiste na Tríonóide: scoláireacht chothrom le linn corraíola sibhialta déine; gaol seanbhunaithe idir institiúidí acadúla, go háirithe idir Coláiste na Tríonóide agus Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann; agus timpeallacht atá faoi shíorbhláth do mhná sa saol acadúil.

Go dtí an lá atá inniu ann, tá cnuasaigh páipéirí, leabhair nótaí agus comhfhreagras pearsanta de chuid Eleanor Knott féin ag Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus leabharlann Choláiste na Tríonóide. Chatalógaigh Martin Fagan cnuasach leathan an Acadaimh sa bhliain 2011. Tá cuntas ar ábhar an chnuasaigh i gColáiste na Tríonóide ar fáil anseo.

 

Sources/Foinsí:

Binchy, D. A., 1975: ‘Eleanor Knott (1886-1975)’, Ériu 26, 182-5.

Mac Cárthaigh, E., 2005: ‘Eleanor Knott’, Léachtaí Cholm Cille 35, 40-68.

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2 Responses to Welcome to the website for the Eleanor Knott Memorial Conference

  1. Daniel Francis says:

    Which is the correct death date? 1965 or 1975?

    Like

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