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The Life and Poems of William Dunbar

Paterson, James

Published by William P. Nimmo, Edinburgh, 1860
Condition: Good Hardcover
From ERIC CHAIM KLINE, BOOKSELLER (ABAA ILAB) (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since February 4, 2000

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

12mo. X, 342pp. Original cloth with title label laid on spine. William Dunbar was a Scottish makar active in the late fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century. He was closely associated with the court of King James IV of Scotland and produced a large body of work in Scots distinguished by its great variation in themes and literary styles. Many of his poems are addressed to the king or queen, or refer to fellow-courtiers, ranging from humble fools to powerful officials, such as the Treasurer. "The Thrissill and the rose" celebrates the wedding of James IV to Margaret Tudor in 1503, and other poems are concerned with festive events of this reign, such as the arrival of the French envoy Bernard Stewart in 1508, and the Queen's visit to Aberdeen in 1511. But many of Dunbar's poems cast a more satiric eye at the activities of James IV's court, and convey an uneasy atmosphere of self-seeking, envy and distrust. Dunbar's favorite term for his own writings was "ballatis", a word that then usually connoted short, often lyrical poems. Dunbar indeed stands out from other late medieval poets for the brevity and compression of his verse. He also called himself a "makar", a term that lays stress on the poet as a skilled and versatile craftsman. Dunbar is famed for his virtuosity, and was ready to write on almost any subject, from a painful headache to a highly technical treatise on penance. He experimented with many popular genres - elegy, panegyric, love epistle, beast fable, satiric testament - but shows particular fondness for the medieval tradition of dream poetry. Also includes in this work is "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy," the earliest surviving example of the Scottish version of the flyting genre in poetry. The genre takes the form of a contest, or "war of words", between two poets, each trying to outclass the other in vituperation and verbal pyrotechnics. It is not certain how the work was composed, but it is likely to have been publicly performed, probably in the style of a poetic joust by the two combatants, William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy, before the Court of James IV of Scotland. There are clues in the poem that suggest some of the features that the show must have contained. Each of the combatants had a commissar, both of whom are named in the work and sometimes directly addressed by the performers. These are (respectively) Sir John the Ross for Dunbar and Quentin Shaw for Kennedy, both of whom were actual persons. Shaw (certainly) and Ross (probably) were also poets, and it seems possible that they played some material part in the performance. Ross, Shaw, and Kennedy are all three named as a group in the closing stanzas of Dunbar's Lament for the Makaris. Some staining on spine. Title label rubbed. Front joint frayed. Title page age-toned. Binding in overall fair, interior in good to good+ condition. Bookseller Inventory # 33732

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Life and Poems of William Dunbar

Publisher: William P. Nimmo, Edinburgh

Publication Date: 1860

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: First edition.

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Since 1985 we offer individual books for sale from our inventory of 150,000 rare, out-of-print and antiquarian volumes on many topics, with an emphasis on Judaica, Hebraica, Bibles and rabbinics, the fine and decorative arts, architecture, photography, textile and wallpaper sample books, Bauhaus and the avant garde, expressionist dance, Olympic Games and sport, the ancient near-east and archeology, erotica, illustrated and foreign-language books, especially German, Yiddish, Polish and Hebrew, as well as books from the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, plus Russian constructivist materials. We create book collections, both large and small, for individuals, decorators, archives and libraries¿currently available: a 10,000-volume research collection on Judaica in the German language. In addition, we maintain a beguiling selection of original works of art and photography. Eric Chaim Kline provides appraisal services for estate, insurance and tax purposes, often helping to match book donors with libraries and museums. We purchase books of merit and entire collections; we also take books on consignment with favorable terms. We are a rental source for movie and tv production, occasionally providing the prop on which the plot turns. Traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe, Eric Chaim Kline has been buying and selling old and rare books since the 1980¿s, when in graduate school at Brandeis University. Proprietor of bookshops in several Los Angeles locations since 1985, he hosts visitors by appointment in our lively bookstore and ships books to collectors, libraries and museums worldwide. Kline occasionally lectures on topics in book collecting and Jewish studies. He sponsors the annual Bibliography Award granted by the Association of Jewish Libraries and serves on the national board of the Antiquarian Booksellers¿ Association of America. We welcome your inquiries.

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