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5. From Medieval to Early Modern: Dunbar, Henryson, Skelton
About this Lecture
We move now from Chaucer to the Early Modern period – but we must go via Scotland. England at this time was embroiled in the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of the Roses and had no time for poetic production – certainly not poetry about love. In Scotland, however, love poetry begins to explore new themes that will crop up again and again in the Early Modern period and beyond. First, we look at William Dunbar, whose poem ‘Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness’ adds an ironic twist to the traditional “courtly” love that we have seen in previous modules. After that, we turn to the poetry of Robert Henryson, another Scottish poet, whose poem ‘Robin and Makyne’ transfers love from the court to the countryside. Finally, we look at John Skelton, a poet who experiments with language and the rhythms of language, as we see in his poem ‘The Tunnying of Elynour Rumming’.
This course explores the theme of love from the earliest English literature to the present day – from authors that you have likely heard of, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron and Keats, to authors that are perhaps less well-known. This is a course that celebrates love in all it forms and between all kinds of people.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Love Through the Ages - From Medieval to Early Modern: Dunbar, Henryson, Skelton [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/from-medieval-to-early-modern-dunbar-henryson-skelton
McRae, John. "Love Through the Ages – From Medieval to Early Modern: Dunbar, Henryson, Skelton." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/from-medieval-to-early-modern-dunbar-henryson-skelton