Making demandes
Frame, form, and narratorial persona
in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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This chapter presents the French courtly love debate, the demande d’amour, as the scaffolding that supports William Dunbar’s longest poem, The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo. The demande d’amour is assessed against the conventions typical of the French form as well as a near-contemporary Scottish example, Sir Gilbert Hay’s inset demande in The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour. This leads into a broader discussion of poetics in fifteenth-century Scotland, especially as represented in Dunbar’s wider corpus. Next, the composition of the locus amoenus, the frame garden, is contextualised by other examples from Dunbar’s poetry. The narrator’s role in the poem is shown to be highly influential to the concepts of narratology and subjectivity. These various aspects of the text are demonstrated to intersect at moments of narrative grotesque where conventions and expectations are ruptured and reformed in distorted and dissonant ways.

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