William Dunbar

(1868 words)
  • Karen Elaine Smyth (University of East Anglia)

William Dunbar enjoyed a considerable reputation in his lifetime as an accomplished poet, and has continued to do so across the centuries. In his poetry Dunbar provides vivid images of life, especially court life, in the reign of James IV. The majority of his poems address the king or queen, or make reference to fellow courtiers. Writing in the tradition of Chaucer and the medieval Scottish poets, his verse is lively and pensive; it parodies activities of court, contains frank emotion on mundane subjects like toothaches and headaches, and is both humorous and cynical. Above all, his poetry is witty and entertaining. Dunbar is best known for his caustic satire and for his talent in employing an eclectic range of poetic forms, linguistic …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Smyth, Karen Elaine. "William Dunbar". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 January 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1347, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Articles on Dunbar's works

  1. The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo [The Treatise of the Two Married Women and the Widow]