James I, King of Scots, The Kingis Quair

Lotte Reinbold (University of Cambridge)
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Introduction and Summary

The Kingis Quair is a dream vision attributed to King James I of Scotland. It survives in one fifteenth-century manuscript, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Arch. Selden B.24. Unusual for its particularly extended dream frame, its seemingly autobiographical content and regal author, and its complex meditations upon Fortune and free will, the poem is an extraordinary tour-de-force, blending the personal with the political, the religious with the romantic.

The poem is divided into 197 seven-line stanzas, written in the verse form of rhyme royal (ababbcc) familiar from Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. It describes an imprisoned narrator, who reads Boethius’…

3814 words

Citation: Reinbold, Lotte. "The Kingis Quair". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 April 2021 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13237, accessed 05 June 2023.]

13237 The Kingis Quair 3 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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