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Title: Complaint in Scotland c.1424- c.1500
Author: Marsland, Rebecca Louise Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 3620 147X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis provides the first account of complaint in Older Scots literature. It argues for the coherent development of a distinctively Scottish complaining voice across the fifteenth century, characterised by an interest in the relationship between amatory and ethical concerns, between stasis and narrative movement, and between male and female voices. Chapter 1 examines the literary contexts of Older Scots complaint, and identifies three paradigmatic texts for the Scottish complaint tradition: Ovid’s Heroides; Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae; and Alan of Lille’s De Planctu Naturae. Chapter 2 concentrates on the complaints in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Arch. Selden. B. 24 (c. 1489-c. 1513). It considers afresh the Scottish reception of Lydgate’s Complaint of the Black Knight and Chaucer’s Anelida and Arcite, and also offers original readings of three Scottish complaints preserved uniquely in this manuscript: the Lay of Sorrow, the Lufaris Complaynt, and the Quare of Jelusy. Chapter 3 focuses on the relationship between complaint and narrative, arguing that the complaints included in the Buik of Alexander (c. 1438), Lancelot of the Laik (c. 1460), Hary’s Wallace (c. 1476-8), and The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour (c. 1460-99) act as catalysts for narrative movement and subvert the complaint’s traditional identity as a static form. Chapter 4 is a study of complaint in Robert Henryson’s three major works: the Morall Fabillis (c. 1480s); the Testament of Cresseid (c. 1480-92); and Orpheus and Eurydice (c. 1490-2), and argues that Henryson consistently connects the complaint form with the concept of self-knowledge as part of wider discourses on effective governance. Chapter 5 presents the evidence that a text’s identity as a complaint influenced its presentation in both manuscript and print witnesses. The witnesses under discussion date predominantly from the sixteenth century; the chapter thus also uses them to explore the complaints’ later reception history.
Supervisor: Mapstone, Sally Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; History of the book ; Older Scots Literature ; Book History ; Medieval Literature ; Chaucer ; Complaint ; Lament