Lovesick or sick of love? The second wife’s response
in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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The second wife’s response is demonstrated to be a sort of distorted mirror of the first wife’s: she adopts many of the motifs, expressions, and concepts introduced in the first response, but reforms them anew. She also flytes her husband, but her flyting is more concerned with the performance of courtliness and courtly love. Her response includes an inset literary complaint, which is wholly unusual for the mode. In addition to highlighting similarities between her complaint and that delivered by the dreamer in Palyce, Richard Holland’s The Buke of the Howlat and The Quare of Jelusy are presented as Scottish intertexts. Concepts of melancholia and lovesickness are interwoven throughout her speech to create a grotesquely warped conglomeration of signification.

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