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 …
Smyth, Karen Elaine. "William Dunbar". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 January 2004; last revised 30 November -1.
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