Walter Kennedy, c. 1460-c. 1518 : his inheritance, his life and his legacy of poetry

Riach, Dorothy Wordsworth (1979) Walter Kennedy, c. 1460-c. 1518 : his inheritance, his life and his legacy of poetry. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Walter Kennedy was born c. 1460 and died c. 1518 (a later date than previously suggested), belonged to a family prominent in Scottish affairs, moved in the King's circle and was famed in his own day as a poet. -- He is best known for his share in "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie" but his extant corpus also includes The Passioun of Crist (1,715 lines) and four lyrics. He was edited by David Laing, in the second volume of The Poems of William Dunbar, Edinburgh, 1834, but only 371 lines of The Passioun were included; and by Jacob Schipper in The Poems of Walter Kennedy, Vienna, 1901, who did not include "The Flyting," having earlier edited it in his William Dunbar - Sein Leben und seine Gedichte, Berlin, 1884. A fresh study of Walter Kennedy is overdue; he is one of the Scottish Makars who deserves notice. -- All of Kennedy's poetry is in stanza form. He shows mastery in producing variety by using internal rhyme and alliteration. He has a wide range of diction and style. The lyrics and The Passioun of Crist are on religious themes, while "The Flyting" is a contest in invective and poetic techniques. -- In this study the lyrics are shown in relation to Lydgate, Henryson and Dunbar and against the background of their time. Kennedy's treatment of his topics is often original. "The Flyting" is viewed as a formal contest between friends rather than as an outpouring of scurrility against enemies in which Kennedy is a worthy opponent, exhibiting a wide range of language and poetical skills. -- The Passioun of Crist is judged to be not merely a narration of the sufferings of our Lord but a much more complex poem where several elements are skilfully blended. Following a Proloque the poem begins with a survey from the creation of man to the events immediately leading to the Crucifixion. The central part of the poem, which recounts the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ, is set within the framework of canonical Hours, beginning on the Wednesday of Holy Week. It is shown that the section for 'sext' which includes, along with the narrative, lyrical laments, a sermon and a conversation between the Virgin and the Cross, coincides with the midday service on Good Friday and that the poem in many ways, including much use of direct speech, bears a strong resemblance to a liturgical drama or Passion play which has had a Prologue added to introduce it to readers. Kennedy's skill in using various metrical and rhetorical devices to avoid monotony through 245 stanzas is demonstrated.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7188
Item ID: 7188
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 182-184
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1979
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Kennedy, Walter, 1460?-1518?--Criticism and interpretation

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