John Lydgate, A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe

Candace Barrington (Central Connecticut State University)
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Also known as

The Complaint of the Black Knight

, John Lydgate’s

A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe

recounts the narrator’s chance encounter wherein he overhears a scorned knight formulaically bemoaning his inability to attract the favors of a particular woman. One of Lydgate’s most courtly works—both in terms of audience and of subject matter—


eventually circulated in broader circles and was incorporated into manuscript miscellanies marketed to England’s prosperous mercantile classes seeking models of courtly deportment and knowledge.

John Lydgate (1373?-1449), a monk connected with the Benedictine abbey of Bury St Edmunds, was a prolific and prolix versifier associated with promoting Lancastrian royal interests. He identifies himself as following in the footsteps of

1424 words

Citation: Barrington, Candace. "A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 March 2021 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

7231 A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe 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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