cover of book

Scripting the Nation: Court Poetry and the Authority of History in Late Medieval Scotland
by Katherine H. Terrell
The Ohio State University Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-8142-1462-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-8110-9
Library of Congress Classification PR8538.T47 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 821.2099411

Scripting the Nation is the first book to set the poets of Scottish King James IV’s court—William Dunbar, Walter Kennedy, and Gavin Douglas—in an extended dialogue with Latin and vernacular traditions of historiography. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Latin chroniclers such as John of Fordun and Walter Bower argued for their nation’s status, using genealogically based myths of origin that linked Scotland to ancient centers of power. As vernacular histories grew more Anglophobic and quarrels rooted in the past continued to influence Anglo-Scottish diplomacy, Dunbar, Kennedy, and Douglas took up a national discourse that responded to English myths and an English poetic tradition exemplified by Geoffrey Chaucer. Terrell’s elegant study examines how these Scottish writers marked out a distinct realm of Scottish cultural and poetic achievement, appropriating and subverting English literary models in ways that reveal the interplay between literary and historical authority in the scripting of nationhood.
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