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William Dunbar and the Querelle des Femmes: A Response to the Roman de la Rose

William Dunbar et la Querelle des femmes: Une réponse au Roman de la Rose?
Lucy Hinnie

Résumés

Cet article examine deux œuvres du poète écossais William Dunbar (c.1460-1513) qui figurent dans le manuscrit Bannatyne de 1568: « the Golden Targe » et « Se that I am Presoneir » (aussi connu sous le titre de « Beauty and the Prisoner »). Plutôt que de revisiter les arguments bien connus de la querelle des femmes, cet article analyse la manière dont Dunbar exploite avec art les notions de genre et de style pour subvertir les termes du débat et relancer la querelle dans le contexte écossais. Il étudie en particulier la façon dont le poète recourt au langage des sens pour construire les genres. En dernier lieu, cette étude suggère que plutôt que de lire the « Targe » et « Prisoneir » comme des poèmes distincts qui s’opposent par leur stylistique, on peut les considérer comme une paire, dont la stylistique ferait écho à l’auctorialité disjointe et duelle de « la Rose ».

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Texte intégral

  • 2 J. T. T. Brown, “The Bannatyne Manuscript: A Sixteenth Century Poetical Miscellany,” Scottish Histo (...)
  • 3 Sarah M. Dunnigan, C. Marie Harker, and Evelyn S. Newlyn (eds), Women and the Feminine in Medieval (...)
  • 4 Anthony J. Hasler argues persuasively that Dunbar’s ease with changing conventions is evidence of t (...)

1My research on the 1568 Bannatyne manuscript (National Library of Scotland Adv. MS. 1.1.6) views the collection as an understudied and overlooked repository of participation with the querelle des femmes. It offers a new reading of the manuscript, the largest extant repository of pre-Reformation Scots verse, whereby the querelle des femmes is more than simply an afterthought in broader thematic analysis, and instead becomes a key focal point of the collection. Though many analyses of the anthology have been offered over the years, these have focussed on other thematic areas, with the question of feminine readings little more than a sidebar to a broader study.2 Notable exceptions exist, such as Sarah Dunnigan and Evelyn Newlyn’s collection Woman and the Feminine (2004) which deals with the period more generally, and the theoretical work of David Parkinson on the querelle de Marie in the manuscript.3 This paper extends these studies and examines two works by the Older Scots poet William Dunbar which appear in the manuscript. It is important to remember that Dunbar was employed as a court poet, and this sense of performance and ceremony would have been pervasive in his creative process.4

  • 5 Joanne S. Norman argues for the consideration of Dunbar alongside the grands rhétoriqueurs for a nu (...)

2The querelle is particularly pertinent in this instance as it was a debate formulated in direct response to the dissemination of Le Roman de la Rose (c.1225-1270?), conducted between public figures such as Christine de Pizan and Jean Gerson. Both the original text of the Rose and the epistolary exchanges that arose from its discussion are things that may well have circulated in the sixteenth-century Scottish courts and universities, many of which were based on continental models. For a writer such as Dunbar to be familiar with the debate is a distinct possibility that is further strengthened upon examination of his work. There is a clear connection to be drawn between Dunbar and the French context of the period, in terms of his university education at St Andrews and access to European texts – he is classed by some critics as being greatly indebted to the grand rhétoriqueurs,5 while the Bannatyne manuscript is inextricably connected to France in its association with the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, whose native language was French, and who continued writing poetry in French while imprisoned in Scotland and England.

  • 6 The Ever Green, Being A Collection of Scots Poems, Wrote by the Ingenious before 1600, ed. Allan Ra (...)
  • 7 Elizabeth Elliott, “Ransacking Old Banny: The Bannatyne Manuscript, the Bannatyne Club, and the Mak (...)

3The Bannatyne is a key witness for a number of important Scottish texts, as well as a repository of much anonymous verse. Consensus agrees that the Bannatyne MS was compiled in 1568, over the course of three months, in which Edinburgh was afflicted by the plague. Its eponymous compiler, George Bannatyne, was twenty-three at the time, the son of an Edinburgh burgess. His miscellany of predominantly Scottish verse has been much lauded and preserved in criticism over the years, with a resurgence of interest in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century as a focal point for the cultural revival work of Allan Ramsay and his Ever Green,6 and latterly Walter Scott and the Bannatyne Club as examined further in recent work by Elizabeth Elliott.7 The manuscript contains over 350 poems, divided into five distinct thematic categories:

  • 8 The Bannatyne Manuscript: Writtin in Tyme of Pest, ed. W. Tod Ritchie, Scottish Text Society, IV vo (...)

Heir followis ballattis of luve
Devydit in four pairtis The first
Ar songis of luve The secound ar
Contemptis of luve And evill wemen
The thrid are contemptis of evill
Fals vicius men And the fourt
Ar ballattis detesting of luve
And lechery
8
(Here follow ballads of love
Divided in four parts The first
Are songs of love The second are
Contempts of love And evil women
The third are contempts of evil
False, vicious men And the fourth
Are ballads detesting of love
And lechery)

  • 9 Sebastiaan Verweij, The Literary Culture of Early Modern Scotland: Manuscript Production and Transm (...)

4What is unusual about the Bannatyne as a source for querelle discourse is that it is not a collection of poems pertaining to the querelle: there is seemingly, if anything, a scarcity of material that directly addresses or participates in the rhetorical terms of the debate. What marks the Bannatyne as distinct is the way in which the editorial decisions of the eponymous compiler serve to underpin the reader’s experience of the manuscript: his curation of the texts allows them to interact with one another in their position and categorisation within the text.9 In his taxonomy of “religious,” “moral,” “comedic,” “love” and “fables,” Bannatyne guides his audience in a reading of the text which privileges genre and categorisation as indicators of how the texts should be understood. In this judicious editorial act of moral instruction, the texts pertaining to the querelle are often given new meaning or new interpretation in their categorisation, or even in their positioning beside other poems of similar subject matter. For example, some of the most offensive misogynous poems are contained within the comedy section – from this, readers can infer a great deal about the ways in which class and gender intersect to secure women as a safe target for mockery and derision.

  • 10 Tom Scott, Dunbar: A Critical Exposition of the Poems, Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1966; Josephine Bl (...)

5Two poems in particular bear further analysis, one from the fourth section, the “love” section, and one from the fifth section, “fables,” both of which respond directly and indirectly to the querelle in their relationship with that infamous source text, the Roman de la Rose. “The Golden Targe” is one of Dunbar’s most famous works, yet its connection to the querelle goes unremarked upon, while “Sen that I am Presoneir” is often overlooked as being in many ways an inferior imitation of the “Targe”, particularly when considering the attribution of the poem.10 The dating of both poems is nebulous; as summarised by Joanna Martin:

  • 11 Joanna Martin, Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424-1540, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, p. 133.

6The Goldyn Targe must have been completed before c.1508 when it was printed by Chepman and Myllar (STC 7349). Bawcutt dates it to sometime in the 1490s because Douglas's Palice of Honour (c. 1501) appears to show its influence. “Sen that I am a Presoneir,” […] is harder to date, and need not belong to the same period as the more sophisticated Goldyn Targe. 11

7Despite this uncertainty, the two poems can be read in tandem to great effect. Not only is the “Targe” remarkable in what it can reveal about Dunbar’s writing and the recovery of the querelle in sixteenth-century Scotland, but furthermore “Sen that I am Presoneir” is more complex than has been previously considered: indeed, a comparison of the two texts shows a sensitivity to the problems of the Rose that set Dunbar, and the Bannatyne manuscript, apart as a reinvigoration of a previously stagnant debate in a Scottish context. Furthermore, they elevate the debate through their deployment of sensual appeal and vivid descriptions of empirical experience.

The Golden Targe

  • 12 The Bannatyne Manuscript, p. 252-261, ff. 345r – 348v.

8The magnificent locus amoenus of Dunbar’s “Golden Targe” is a triumphant opening to one of his most famous poems, a veritable portfolio of his skill in aureate, Latinate language and medieval tropes: “Vp sprang þe goldin candill matutyne / Wt cleir depurit bemys crhistallyne” (ll. 4-5).12 The way in which the narrator describes the natural setting of the poem is highly visual. The poem is an enjoyable assault on the senses: just as we hear the “glading [of] þe mirry fowlis in thair nest” (l. 6), so too do we feel the “perlit droppis” of dew (l. 14), taste the sun drinking the “cristall teiris” of Aurora (l. 17) and imagine the smell of the fecund field in which the narrator sleeps. The descent into dream vision is an aesthetically pleasing illustration, with the dreamscape smoothly infiltrated by the ship carrying beautiful goddesses into the narrator’s consciousness: “quhair sone vnto my dremis fantasy / I saw approche Agane þe orient sky /And saill as blosome vpoun spray” (ll. 49-51).

9The introduction of the goddesses’ male counterparts, the court of men, is outlined with less appealing description of their demeanour, enhancing by contrast the appeal of the feminine. Cupid appears with “dreidfull arrowis grundin scherp and squair” (ll. 111) alongside Mars, “awfull and sterne, Strong and corpolent” (l. 113), a triumvirate completed by the description of Saturn as “awld and hair” (l. 114), a far cry from the “pawpis quhyt and middillis small as wandis” (l. 63) of the goddesses. So sensual are they, that Dunbar’s narrator finds himself drawn ever closer in his voyeuristic position, watching from the sidelines of the action: that is, until he is spotted by Venus herself. Herein begins the tonal turn of the poem, whereby the narrator is “rycht sudanly affrayit” (l. 134) as he becomes the focus of the goddess’s wrath.

10As Venus commands her female warriors to attack, the viciousness of this onslaught is palpable. The perceived danger and disquiet of romantic love is writ large in terms of the assault on the narrator. The warriors are described in monstrous terms as they approach: suddenly they are armed with “mony diuer(ss) awfull instrument” (l. 148) as they drop “thair mantilis grene” (l. 139). In an allegorical interjection, the figure of Reason, “that noble chevelleir” (l. 153) defends the narrator, with an imperturbable “scheild of gold so cleir” (l. 151). This shield deflects all attackers, ensuring the safety of the narrator from this sensory overload, but in a twist of fate, Reason’s noble sense are compromised when Presence “kest[s] ane powder in his ene” (l. 203) and he is blinded. This attack, and the assailant, acts as an allegory for the overwhelming nature of love’s beauty and amatory desire when the subject is faced with the physical appearance of a beloved. Blindness is a particularly interesting affliction here, as much of the poem is preoccupied with the colours and visual appeal of the scenes it describes: the elimination of sight as a sense takes away much of the richness of the scene, and having therefore established the importance of vision, the punishment of Reason is all the more brutal.

11The immediate detrimental effect of this assault on Reason is made plain, as he staggers drunkenly amidst the chaotic landscape, no longer able to protect the narrator: “Quhen he wes drukin / the fule w(ith) him þai playit” (l. 205). Still the female attackers keep coming, and their relentless assault is broken only by the clamour of Aeolus’ bugle, again a distinctly sensual experience whereby “w(ith) þe blast the levis all to schuke” (l. 231), the noise of the bugle being so loud that it causes reverberation and movement in the foliage. This action interrupts the scene in its sudden appeal to the senses, and draws the conflict to an abrupt conclusion, all participants beating a hasty retreat, “thair wes no moir birdis, bonk & bruke” (l. 234). This interruption is audible and impacts upon Reason also, who can still hear though he cannot see. Shortly after this moment, the narrator has awoken and is left contemplating his vivid dream vision experience.

  • 13 See Cary J. Nederman, “Christine de Pizan and Jean Gerson on the Body Politic: Inclusion, Hierarchy (...)
  • 14 This is further reminiscent of the end of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde: “go, litel bok, litel myn (...)

12This abrupt conclusion to the vivid dream experience evokes a strong impression of the sensual impact that this encounter has had upon the narrator. The terms of the querelle are often ascribed in ways which emphasise the sensuality of women, and Christine de Pizan herself took issue with the overly sexual language and obscenity of de Meun’s continuation.13 While Dunbar’s work errs much more on the side of the allegorical, the sexualised implications of this sensory assault are clear. In avoiding direct and explicit references, Dunbar proves an adept at engaging with the debate in a subtle and nuanced manner. With this is mind, the lines between dream and reality are blurred in the narrator’s reaction upon waking. The vividness of the experience and the inadequacy of language to contain and represent such feeling is the focus of the concluding stanzas. Continuing from the initial appeal to Homer and Tullius (i.e. Cicero) in stanza 8, having returned to the waking world he now appeals to Chaucer, Lydgate and Gower in turn. The narrator reflects how ineffectual their own rhetorical prowess would be in such a situation, “was thow no(t) of our inglis all þe licht / surmonting every toung terrestriall?” (ll. 260-1). The poem ends with a heartfelt plea to his “littill quair” (l. 271) to go forth into the world and obediently try to emulate the experience he has had.14 The epistolary nature of the original querelle and the reliance on old voices of authority such as Ovid are emulated here in the narrator’s appeal to his literary forebears for clarity.

  • 15 See A. Hasler, art. cit., p. 194; J. S. Norman, art. cit., p. 189.

13The sensuality of “The Golden Targe” is vitally important in establishing a sense of the “battle of the sexes” outlined by Dunbar. The superficial differences between the depiction of the male and the female are in many senses unremarkable: as we would expect, the female figures are painted as objects of desire for the narrator, with their beautiful appearance and highly ornate, visually appealing clothing, “in kirtillis grene, w(ith)owttin kell or bandis […] in tresis cleir wypit w(ith) goldin threidis” (l. 60-2). As with the description of the gods earlier in the poem, the men are depicted as rather less alluring. The environment in which they interact is a cornucopian natural arena, in which colour is utilised to establish a sense of its perfection, yet Hasler and Norman argue convincingly that as readers we should step away from one-dimensional interpretations of Dunbar as merely an imitator of current styles of writing, and a maverick of genre.15

  • 16 Evelyn B. Vitz, “The ‘I’ of the Roman de La Rose,” Genre, 6, 1973, p. 49-75.

14Instead, what we can see in “The Golden Targe” are some subtle subversions that have implications for the querelle and reveal Dunbar to be a sophisticated and tactical satirist. Consider the alterations made from the Rose : the narrator is much more closely bound with the text, offering an immediacy missing from de Lorris and de Meun: within the first stanza of the poem, the audience are located alongside the narrator’s personal experience: “I raiß and by a roseir did me rest” (l. 3).16 As Hasler summarises, with this focalisation of the action and vivid description, Dunbar achieves in a few lines what it took the Rose over a thousand verses to establish. This quick engagement with the subject matter indicates the confidence in Dunbar’s interpretation of the text, and the capacity of the author to enter the discourse without hesitation.

15The casting of Reason as a man rather than as a wily woman is significant, particularly given his defeat at the hands of Venus. While this instance in and of itself may play into the traditional trajectory of male defeat by feminine cunning, the way in which Dunbar engages with his sources is remarkable, mirrored in the distinctive allusions to the Rose throughout both texts. Finally, the abrupt ending, mirrored in both texts, is followed in Dunbar by a reflection on rhetoric itself, and the inability of language to adequately reflect a perceived reality. This fluid and skilful response to the source material indicates an interpretation of the querelle which recognises its flaws: in utilising hyperbolic imagery, Dunbar subtly undercuts the solemnity with which the terms of the debate are often conducted, opting instead to satirise the debate as a whole with his playful enactment of one side. The impossibility of satisfactory mimesis is then, perhaps, a comment on the inadequacy of the querelle as a mode of discourse, and its incapacity to reflect the fundamental questions of woman’s worth. The inheritance of the querelle as opposed to any other form of misogynist debate is evident in the emulation of the source text in both poems. It is to the second poem in this analysis that we now turn.

Sen that I am Presoneir

  • 17 The Bannatyne Manuscript, p. 249-252, ff. 214r – 215r.
  • 18 Edmund Reiss, William Dunbar, Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1979, here p. 104.

16“Sen that I am Presoneir” is, on its surface, a siege poem, whereby the narrator has been taken prisoner “till hir þat farest is and best” (l. 2).17 Though “her” identity is not made plain at the outset, we soon discover that his mistress is Beauty, leading to the alternative title of this poem “Beauty and the Prisoner.” The narrator describes his ordeal in terms of long-suffering: he has been wounded by “sweit Having” and “fresche bewte” (l. 9) and they have secured him to the gate of “þe castell of pennance” (l. 12) then later to “a deip dungeon” (l. 25). As the poem unfolds, there is a rapid escalation into a violent and frantic siege, whereby the castle is attacked by allegorical figures and visceral tactics of combat. Edmund Reiss comments on the unusual aspects of the poem: “Into the never never land of make believe comes real violence [] instead of seeing the human by means of the allegorical, the allegorical appears in terms of the human.”18 This conflict emerges after the narrator is approached by “Gud Houp,” who appeals to his sense of hearing: “rownit in [his] eir” (l. 41), he is told that Petie and Tho(t) will help him, if only he can get beyond the castle walls. Then, says Tho(t) “I hecht coim I ourthort / I houp to low(ss) þe presoneir” (ll. 55-6).

  • 19 See Annette Kern-Stähler, Kathrin Scheuchzer (eds.), The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern E (...)

17The attack on the castle is reminiscent of the assault within the Rose: much like the battering ram of the Rose, the narrator describes “Bissines þe grit gyn bend[ing] / Straik[ing] doun þe top of þe foir tour” (ll. 67-8). The aural array of the poem is once again a point of focus, as Comparisone “began to lour / and cryit furth” (ll. 69-70). More so than in “The Golden Targe” the narrator’s sense of hearing is appealed to, and the noise and clamour of battle used to mirror the struggle between sexual pursuit and reason. The masculine nature of the five senses has been examined in other literary criticism,19 and when considered in tandem with the focus of “The Golden Targe” on the masculine experience, this sensory onslaught underpins the eventual victory of reason.

  • 20 E. Reiss, op. cit., p. 104.

18The battle is a short one, “sailȝeit ane hour” (l. 66). Reiss aptly summarises the rapid and decisive defeat of the narrator’s defenders thus: “[…] Strangenes is burned to death” (75-76), Scorn has a skewer put through his nose, Comparison is buried alive, Langour leaps from the castle and breaks his neck, and Good Fame is drowned in a sack (81-7)”.20 Decisive victory in hand, the figure of Matrimony makes his entrance: crucially, he is described as “þat nobill king” (l. 97) defining the terms of marriage as entirely masculine. His dominance is asserted in the description of his appearance: “[he] was grevit and gadderit ane grit ost / and all enermit, w(ith)out lesing” (l. 98-9). He chases the figure of Slander all the way to the west coast (surely a true punishment in the view of Dunbar, who was closely associated with Fife and the east coast) and peace is restored. He joins Beauty and the prisoner in friendship and the narrator, “be that of eild wes gud fami(ss) air” (l. 105), makes his repair to court. Matrimony then takes the crown of the castle and settles the players into a peace which is both reasonable and abiding: a direct opposition to the way love and desire are depicted.

19If “The Golden Targe” is the stylistic heir of Guillame de Lorris’ rather more subtle section of the Rose, then “Sen that I am Presoneir” is surely the continuation of the sexual imagery so deplored by Christine de Pizan in Jean de Meun’s continuation of the Rose. Though the uncertainty regarding the specific dates for the poems may seemingly work against this assertion, the fascination of “Presoneir” with abstracted and hyperbolic violence far exceeds the conflict of the “Targe,” which though also hyperbolic, does not reach the visceral violence depicted in the siege. The assault on the senses within “Sen” is one which appeals to the clamour of battle, hearing being one of the “noble masculine senses,” and the victory belongs to man, embodied in the figure of matrimony. Yet, if we unpack this poem further, new understandings of its context become apparent.

  • 21 Sarah Couper, “Allegory and Parody in Dunbar’s ‘Sen That I Am Presoneir’,” Scottish Studies Review (...)
  • 22 Ibid., p. 9; Priscilla Bawcutt, Dunbar The Makar, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 307-315 (...)

20Rather than paying tribute solely to the violence and gratuity of de Meun’s sexualised violence, Dunbar’s poem makes a point regarding the difficulty of the Rose in its “bipartite structure.”21 The transition from the perspective of a morose yet contemplative prisoner, more akin to the trend of “prisoner verse” at this time, to the hypermasculine battle is tonally uncomfortable. Knowing as we do the extent of Dunbar’s poetic prowess, why would such a resounding paradox feature at the centre of such a verse? Couper argues that this verse is stylistically inferior to the “Targe,”22 yet when considered alongside the “Targe” and the understanding of the source material that is evident from both poems, it is more likely that Dunbar is satirising the outmoded and problematic terms of the querelle and its associated allegorical literature.

21In the case of “Presoneir” this takes the form of exposing the hypocrisy and impossibility of marriage, in this instance as a satisfactory conclusion to as heated an experience as the narrator’s ordeal of sexual love. Highlighting the casualties, victims and acts of violence within the siege, the emergence and solemnity of Matrimony become absurd in their sudden tonal shift to peace. Dunbar is a poet skilled enough to recognise that the shift of tone and genre within the poem will have such an effect and in so doing, he is offering a new and subversive reading of the querelle, moving the debate beyond its stagnant medieval terms and into a sixteenth-century context.

  • 23 J. S. Norman, art. cit., p. 182.

22If we consider the poems as a pair, as two texts emerging from the same source and with the same aim, we can see that Dunbar is writing with sophistication and assurance that come from a sound understanding of the source text and its rhetorical context. While the “Targe” embodies what Norman describes as Dunbar’s reflection of the style and ethos of the “grands rhétoriqueurs,”23 “Sen that I am Presoneir” provokes discussion around the ludicrous enactment and depiction of gendered violence and sensual experience.

23If we accept the depiction of women and gender as an inherent part of the querelle and its legacy, the importance of Dunbar’s largely overlooked contribution to the debate can be understood anew as both meaningful and substantial. While my thesis focusses on further examples of Dunbar’s engagement with the querelle and the chameleonic nature of his work in relation to genre, it is within these two poems that the most oblique references to the Rose reside, and within this paradigm that we can appreciate the extent of Dunbar’s skill.

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Notes

1 R. D. S. Jack. “Dunbar, William (1460?-1513x30), poet and courtier,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (May 2010) http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-8208. (last accessed 1 September 2018).

2 J. T. T. Brown, “The Bannatyne Manuscript: A Sixteenth Century Poetical Miscellany,” Scottish History Review, i , 1904, p. 136-158; A. A. Macdonald, “The Printed Book That Never Was: George Bannatyne’s Poetic Anthology (1568),” in Boeken in de Late Middeleeuwen: Verslag van de Groningse Codicologendagen 1992, ed. Jos. M. M. Hermans and Klaas van der Hoek, Groningen, Egbert Forsten, 1994, p. 101-110; Joan Hughes and W. S. Ramson (eds.), Poetry of The Stewart Court, Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1982 ; Theo Van Heijnsbergen, “The Bannatyne MS Lyrics: Literary Convention and Authorial Voice,”, in The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, ed. Graham D. Caie, Edinburgh, Tuckwell Press, 2001, p. 423-444.

3 Sarah M. Dunnigan, C. Marie Harker, and Evelyn S. Newlyn (eds), Women and the Feminine in Medieval and Early Modern Scottish Writing, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2004, p. 89-103; David Parkinson, “‘A Lamentable Storie’: Mary Queen of Scots and the Inescapable Querelle Des Femmes,” in A Palace in the Wild, ed. Alasdair A. Macdonald, Sally Mapstone, and L. A. J. R. Houwen, Leeuven, Peeters, 2000, p. 141-160.

4 Anthony J. Hasler argues persuasively that Dunbar’s ease with changing conventions is evidence of the way in which his writing undermines the very social structures that his courtly position was expected to uphold: “the poems should […] be examined as a complex series of negotiations between the desire of the poet and the demands which structure it” (“William Dunbar: The Elusive Subject,” in Bryght Lanternis: Essays on the Language and Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland, ed. J. Derrick McClure and Michael R. G. Spiller, Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen Press, 1989, p. 194-209).

5 Joanne S. Norman argues for the consideration of Dunbar alongside the grands rhétoriqueurs for a number of reasons: his background, his overall style and his interaction with the court environment in which he wrote. Speaking about Dunbar and the rhétoriqueurs, Norman states that “[i]dentification with the court meant […] not only that the conditions of its life, its ceremonies, recreations and rituals provide the occasions of poetry […] but that they have to adopt the point of view of the court, an ‘official’ view of reality that stresses convention, traditional values and hierarchical structures” in “William Dunbar: Grand Rhétoriqueur,” ed. J. Derrick McClure and Michael R. G. Spiller, op. cit., p. 179-194, here at p. 184.

6 The Ever Green, Being A Collection of Scots Poems, Wrote by the Ingenious before 1600, ed. Allan Ramsay, Edinburgh, Thomas Ruddiman, 1724.

7 Elizabeth Elliott, “Ransacking Old Banny: The Bannatyne Manuscript, the Bannatyne Club, and the Making of Edinburgh Communities,” Edinburgh Review 135: The Way Everyone Thinks We’re Supposed to Think, 2012, p. 89-97; Elizabeth Elliott, “Walter Scott’s Bannatyne Club, Elite Male Associational Culture, and the Making of Identities,” The Review of English Studies, 67.281, 2016, p. 732-750. <https://doi.org/10.1093/res/hgw005>; Elizabeth Elliott, “Old-World Verse and Scottish Renascence: Flourishing Evergreen,” The Evergreen: A New Season in the North, ed. Sean Bradley, Edinburgh, The Word Bank, 2014, p. 149-156.

8 The Bannatyne Manuscript: Writtin in Tyme of Pest, ed. W. Tod Ritchie, Scottish Text Society, IV vols – STS 2nd ser. 22, 23, 26; 3rd ser. 5, Edinburgh and London, William Blackwood and Sons Ltd., 1928, III. p. 240. Fol. 211v. Quotations taken from this edition.

9 Sebastiaan Verweij, The Literary Culture of Early Modern Scotland: Manuscript Production and Transmission, 1560-1625, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.

10 Tom Scott, Dunbar: A Critical Exposition of the Poems, Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1966; Josephine Bloomfield, “A Test of Attribution: William Dunbar’s ‘Bewty and the Presoneir’,” English Language Notes, 30.4, 1993, p. 11-19.

11 Joanna Martin, Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424-1540, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, p. 133.

12 The Bannatyne Manuscript, p. 252-261, ff. 345r – 348v.

13 See Cary J. Nederman, “Christine de Pizan and Jean Gerson on the Body Politic: Inclusion, Hierarchy, and the Limits of Intellectual Influence,” Storia Del Pensiero Politico, 2.3, 2013, p. 467-481; Earl Jeffrey Richards, “Rejecting Essentialism and Gendered Writing: The Case of Christine de Pizan,” Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages, ed. Jane Chance, Florida, University Press of Florida, 1996, p. 96-131 ; Albert Rabil Jr., “Geoffrey Chaucer, the Wife of Bath (Ca. 1395) and Christine de Pizan, from Letter of the God of Love (1399) to City of Ladies (1405): A New Kind of Encounter between Male and Female,” Attending to Early Modern Women: Conflict and Concord, ed. Karen Nelson and Amy M. Froide, University of Delaware, P. Rowman & Littlefield, 2013, p. 189-206.

14 This is further reminiscent of the end of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde: “go, litel bok, litel myn tragedye” (l. 1786) in Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer, Larry Benson ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1987, p. 584.

15 See A. Hasler, art. cit., p. 194; J. S. Norman, art. cit., p. 189.

16 Evelyn B. Vitz, “The ‘I’ of the Roman de La Rose,” Genre, 6, 1973, p. 49-75.

17 The Bannatyne Manuscript, p. 249-252, ff. 214r – 215r.

18 Edmund Reiss, William Dunbar, Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1979, here p. 104.

19 See Annette Kern-Stähler, Kathrin Scheuchzer (eds.), The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England, Leiden, Brill, 2016. http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/9789004315495 (last accessed 31 July 2018); Carl Nordenfalk, “The Five Senses in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 48, 1985, p. 1-22 https://doi.org/10.2307/751209 (last accessed 31 July 2018) ; Louise Vinge, The Five Senses: Studies In a Literary Tradition, Lund, CWK Gleerup, 1975.

20 E. Reiss, op. cit., p. 104.

21 Sarah Couper, “Allegory and Parody in Dunbar’s ‘Sen That I Am Presoneir’,” Scottish Studies Review 6, 2, (Autumn) 2005, p. 10.

22 Ibid., p. 9; Priscilla Bawcutt, Dunbar The Makar, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 307-315. As noted by Couper, Bawcutt’s reading of this poem highlights its apparent stylistic inferiority to the “Targ”’ and dismisses it amidst the agreement of previous critics.

23 J. S. Norman, art. cit., p. 182.

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Lucy Hinnie, « William Dunbar and the Querelle des Femmes: A Response to the Roman de la Rose », Études Épistémè [En ligne], 34 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 février 2019, consulté le 21 octobre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/2907 ; DOI : 10.4000/episteme.2907

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Auteur

Lucy Hinnie

Lucy R. Hinnie is a final-year doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh. She specialises in late medieval Scottish verse, and recently submitted her thesis on the querelle des femmes in the Bannatyne Manuscript (c. 1568). Her upcoming postdoctoral project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, will produce the first digitised edition of the Bannatyne Manuscript, in conjunction with the University of Saskatchewan. She is an active member of the Robert Henryson Society, the Medieval Makars Society and the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship and an Assistant Editor on the Journal of the Northern Renaissance [https://www.northernrenaissance.org/]. She takes a keen interest in fostering a culture of writing for postgraduate students, and regularly facilitates remote writing retreats online.

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