The narrative grotesque
in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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The introduction briefly outlines the literary culture of fifteenth-century Scotland and the contexts in which Gavin Douglas and William Dunbar were writing. Each text is described and some pertinent critical discourses regarding the works are discussed. Next, the narrative grotesque is situated within a broader critical history related to the critical term ‘grotesque’, which arose in reference to architectural decorations in the late fifteenth century before being adopted into other intellectual discourses. The narrative grotesque is defined as a distinct variety of the grotesque, since it is not limited to visual images and, rather, extends to textual corruptions, hybridisations, and ruptures that are paired with the dissonant affective reactions of horror and humour. The Palyce of Honour and The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo are shown to be exemplary starting points for the wider application of the narrative grotesque, since both exhibit numerous and varied ‘grotesqueries’.


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