The Untold Voyage of Saint Cormac: A Study of Voyage Literature throughout History in Conjunction with the Practice of Peregrinatio in 6th Century Ireland
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Through the narrative of this creative thesis, I will explore the sixth century monastic practice of peregrinatio and the nautical motifs found throughout the literary canon of voyage literature. The power of narrative, as seen in this thesis, immerses the reader into a story, allowing them to delve into the consciousness of characters to better understand the themes behind their inner-conflict. A character’s actions and thoughts become clear to the reader through narration, inspiring a deeper identification and perceived-empathy with the characters that a history of the event could not achieve. This chronicle juxtaposes the ideas of sanctity and insanity, a subjective distinction, as the Irish monk, St. Cormac, experiences trials that test his faith in the midst of a desperate journey that plants doubt into the minds of both the ship’s captain and the reader. The line of St. Cormac’s actions being saintly or insane becomes muddled the further into the unforeseen pilgrimage the crew and the reader gets. I propose to create a fictional account of St. Cormac’s undocumented journey into the far, perilous, and trying northern sea, collecting themes from voyage literature and monastic practices to develop a story that questions the faith of the character as well as the reader.
Woods, Bailey Jordan (2017). The Untold Voyage of Saint Cormac: A Study of Voyage Literature throughout History in Conjunction with the Practice of Peregrinatio in 6th Century Ireland. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from