Intertextuality in the Older Scots Clariodus and its Manuscript

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The Older Scots romance Clariodus survives uniquely in a manuscript written in the second half of the sixteenth century (Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ MS 19.2.5). The romance itself was composed in the first half of the sixteenth century, most probably during the reign of King James V of Scotland. It is a remarkably close translation into decasyllabic couplets of the French prose romance, Cleriadus et Meliadice, estimated to have been composed between 1440 and 1444. When Meliadice visits the wounded Cleriadus early in the French romance, the narrator remarks: “Et lisoit Cleriadus en ung romant [...]” (IV. 544). This metatextual reference to Cleriadus reading a romance is strangely absent from the Scots translation which otherwise omits very little of the original French. Multiple unique additions to the Scots translation ensure, however, that Clariodus is a “bookish” romance: a compilation of intertextualities in the style of other Older Scots texts such as James I’s Kingis Quair (c. 1424) and Gavin Douglas’ Palice of Honour (c. 1501). This paper will explore the many intertextual elements of Clariodus – particularly echoes of and references to Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, Henryson, Dunbar and other Older Scots romance texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
Number of pages17
JournalArchiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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