Oral history and facts

Dublin Core

Title

Oral history and facts

Subject

Lough Derg--Ordnance Survey--Description--John O'Donovan

Description

A debate over the reliability of oral history, in which O'Donovan cites the heterogeneity of County Donegal local stories

Creator

John O'Donovan, 1806-1861

Source

Letter from John O'Donovan, Pettigoe, October 28th 1835, pp. 241-42, O’Donovan, John, Ordnance Survey Letters, Donegal: Letters Containing Information Relative to the Antiquities of the County of Donegal Collected during the Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1835, pp. 119-20

Publisher

Four Masters Press, Dublin

Date

1835 [2000]

Contributor

Transcribed and edited by Michael Herity, MRIA

Rights

Citation for the purposes of criticism

Format

Edited collection of letters

Language

English with Irish text in Celtic script

Type

Ordnance Survey Letters

Identifier

DD_0170

Coverage

54.616218, -7.876212

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

"I have argued with a Dr of Salamanca about Oral tradition; he produced logic and ingenious subtlety; I produced facts, that had fallen under my own eye; he adduced the accuracy of the Antediluvian pedigrees and other traditions; I produced the inaccuracy of what Oral tradition has preserved in Donegal in 1835, a more tangible epoch (era). He urged the perfection of the human memory; I urged the imperfection of my own, and the acknowledged treachery of those men of genius and sound learning, and quoted the vulgar and common place proverb 'Vox audita perit, litera scripta manet.' He argued from the immutability of the tradition of the Church; I from the forgeries of the middle ages and strikingly from these about Lough Derg in particular; from the fact that no six persons will (or can) separately relate the same story in the same words, order, or detail, and from the difficulty with which a case of open robbery can be proved to the satisfaction of men of wisdom and acquaintance with the laws of nature and Society. We ended like Mr. Owens and the American Preacher - the latter produced the Bible, the former his own twelve tablets."

Original Format

Hand written letters held in Royal Irish Academy

Collection

Citation

John O'Donovan, 1806-1861, “Oral history and facts,” Digital Derg: A Deep Map, accessed July 10, 2020, https://digitalderg.eu/items/show/188.

Geolocation