William Dunbar

Karen Elaine Smyth (University of East Anglia)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

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 registers and metrical rhythms. He was the first to…

1868 words

Citation: Smyth, Karen Elaine. "William Dunbar". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 January 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1347, accessed 21 June 2024.]

1347 William Dunbar 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.