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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

James I of Scotland’s Kingis Quair in Linguistic and Manuscript Contexts

11th May 2015, 17:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Professor William Hodapp

An early example of Scots poetry, James I’s Kingis Quair interests scholars of late Middle English and Older Scots language and literature. The product of a Scottish court poet steeped in English language and poetics, this poem offers an instance of a borderline text: one that bridges cultures, genres, subjects, and dialects. Composed near the end of the first quarter of the fifteenth century (ca. 1424), the poem exists in only one manuscript copy dating some sixty years later (ca. 1488). This manuscript— Bodleian Library Ms. Arch. Selden B.24—was most likely produced in Edinburgh for Henry, Lord Sinclair, Third Earl of Orkney and great-nephew of James I. Known in his day as a bibliophile, Sinclair had amassed a relatively extensive library by the time of his death on September 9, 1513, at the Battle of Flodden Field. While a Fulbright Scholar in Durham, Professor Hodapp has been examining the poem’s linguistic features and its material context. In this presentation, Hodapp will review findings and results to date and discuss future avenues of research into The Kingis Quair.

William Hodapp is a Professor of English at The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota, where he also coordinates the College’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies program. He has published on medieval classicism, poetry, devotional writing, and drama, on teaching medieval and early modern studies, and on cinematic medievalism. On leave from his home institution, he is currently a US-UK Fulbright Scholar in the Department of English Studies.