John Lydgate

Claire Sponsler (University of Iowa)
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Although hardly a household name today, John Lydgate (ca. 1371-1449) was the best-known and most prolific writer of fifteenth-century England, author of over 140,000 lines of verse and a number of prose texts. Throughout his long career, Lydgate was supported and patronized by royalty and wealthy commoners, who commissioned most of his works, including his massive translations, the

Troy Book

, the

Siege of Thebes

, and the

Fall of Princes

. Although he has sometimes been disparaged as a mediocre writer, Lydgate deserves to be recognized for his popularity in his own day as well as for extending Chaucer's legacy and for creating a 'Lancastrian poetics' in which English literature became a vehicle of national prestige linked to growing awareness of an 'English' identity.

Lydgate's career as a

1479 words

Citation: Sponsler, Claire. "John Lydgate". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002 [, accessed 24 April 2024.]

2827 John Lydgate 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.

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