John Lydgate

Writer, Author

1370 – 1451

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Who was John Lydgate?

John Lydgate of Bury was a monk and poet, born in Lidgate, Suffolk, England.

The sheer bulk of Lydgate's poetic output is prodigious, amounting, at a conservative count, to about 145,000 lines. He explored and established every major Chaucerian genre, except such as were manifestly unsuited to his profession, like the fabliau. In the Troy Book, an amplified translation of the Trojan history of the thirteenth-century Latin writer Guido delle Colonne, commissioned by Prince Henry, he moved deliberately beyond Chaucer's Knight's Tale and his Troilus, to provide a full-scale epic.

The Siege of Thebes is a shorter excursion in the same field of chivalric epic. The Monk's Tale, a brief catalog of the vicissitudes of Fortune, gives a hint of what is to come in Lydgate's massive Fall of Princes, which is also derived, though not directly, from Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium.

The Man of Law's Tale, with its rhetorical elaboration of apostrophe, invocation, and digression in what is essentially a saint's legend, is the model for Lydgate's legends of St. Edmund and St.

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Born
1370
Suffolk
Nationality
  • England
Profession
Education
  • University of Oxford
Lived in
  • Suffolk
Died
1451

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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