Edited By Rudolf Suntrup and Jan R. Veenstra
For medieval man heaven was a concrete reality. Belief in the afterlife was self-evident and intense in a way that is difficult to imagine for modern man who knows heaven sooner from booktitles, songs, figures of speech or advertisements than from every-day experience. The contributions to this volume of proceedings, however, deal with the question how in the late-medieval and early-modern period the idealized image of heaven influenced life, society and art. The various essays deal with the impact of this idealism on politics and society (ruler, state, education, theocracy), on religious practice (poor relief, pilgrimage), and on different art forms (Meistergesang, religious song, and allegorical poetry). The volume contains six German and three English contributions.
Allegorical (Dream-) Vision Poetry in Medieval andEarly Modern ScotlandAlasdair A. MacDonald (Groningen) 167
Allegorical (Dream-) Vision Poetry in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland Alasdair A. MacDonald (Groningen) Among the qualities that critics of Older Scots literature have singled out for special emphasis, realism of a more or less earthy kind stands high on the list, though the degree to which this emphasis is actually deserved is debatable. Another debatable issue is what is implied by the familiar and long-standing label ‘Scottish Chaucerian(s)’, which of old has been used to characterise the poets of late-medieval Scotland.1 While it is undeniable that several Scottish poets were proud to pay explicit tribute to Chaucer, fifteenth-century English poets did likewise, and this has led to the coining of the more recent label of ‘English Chaucerian’.2 Later still, the label ‘Scottish Lydgatian’ has emerged, to capture the allegedly great debt of Scottish poets to Chaucer’s fifteenth-century follower.3 The validity – and the range – of the ‘Scottish Chaucerian’ label is thus a vexed issue. Most debatable of all, however, is the potential blending of the two categorisations, since this would suggest that the alleged earthiness and realism may be not unconnected with influence from the English master. Such a danger indeed applies in the case of two poets in particular. Robert Henryson’s fable of the ‘Cok and the Fox’ is habitually linked with Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale, and William Dunbar’s Tretis of the Two Mariit Wemen and the Wedo is continually associated with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale.4 How- ever, it is not certain that the...
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