Title Background

Bad, harsk spech and lewit barbur tong: Gavin Douglas’s Langlandian Prologue’  , 

Bad, harsk spech and lewit barbur tong: Gavin Douglas’s Langlandian Prologue’  , 

While Gavin Douglas is better known for his open invocations of Chaucer, this essay argues that he includes veiled references to L in his Eneados Prologue 8, an alliterative dream vision. A series of verbal and thematic echoes of PPl allows Douglas to confront his narrator persona with a Langlandian mode of poetic making and to subject him to the kinds of questions about the worth and social function of poetry that L’s poem raises. The narrator’s interaction with his Langlandian interlocutor is presented as a conflict between two authors, each claiming legitimacy for his own mode of writing at the expense of the other’s, but the prologue reveals underlying similarities between these competing modes. This Langlandian turn is implicated in Douglas’s claims throughout the Eneados to create a new vernacular poetic idiom and a new audience of educated lay readers, for it raises the spectre of modes of reading and responses to his work beyond his control even as it provides a model for negotiating traditional literary hierarchies. (SMW) 

Volume

YLS, 25 (2011), 137-59.

Author

Winders, S. Melissa