Identity crisis
Temporal dissonance and narrative voice
in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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This chapter builds on the previous one by focusing more closely on the temporal dissonance and thus multiple subjectivities created between the two protagonists: Douglas the dreamer and Douglas the narrator. It is shown that their voices create an affective antinomy that appears most vividly at moments of textual rupture and fusion. This narrative grotesque reveals Gavin Douglas’s self-conscious exploration of the role of the poet and of poetics in society; a pursuit greatly influenced by the precepts of Italian humanism. This concern is in part demonstrated through the recurring motifs of harmony and transfiguration. Furthermore, his destruction of medieval dream vision conventions is shown through contrastive comparisons with Chaucer’s The Parliament of Fowls and The House of Fame. The inset literary complaint is also demonstrated to multiply this destructive effect by reimagining the purpose and form of the complaint as a discourse about love.

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