Andrew Wyntoun’s Original Chronicle: a study of the Chronicle and the significance of its compilational style

McAtear, James Doherty (2022). Andrew Wyntoun’s Original Chronicle: a study of the Chronicle and the significance of its compilational style. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis sets out to examine Andrew Wyntoun’s Original Chronicle as a key text within the older Scots tradition. It identifies the compilational form of the Chronicle as a vital element in understanding how the work functions as a holistic text. To do this, it places the writer and his text in the wider context of the growth of vernacular literature in medieval Scotland. Its survey of the Chronicle’s literary reception suggests that its decline from its late medieval highpoint may be connected to its distinctive poetic, paratactic methodology. It assesses Wyntoun’s prologues in the light of prevailing critical theories of medieval authorship and reveals Wyntoun as a self-conscious vernacular translator concerned with defending the rights of the Church, the independence of the Scottish kingdom and his own approach to poetry. It details the close connection between the Original Chronicle and Robert Mannying’s Chronicle, a relationship not previously noted. The thesis goes on to identify Wyntoun’s sources before demonstrating the use Wyntoun has put these sources to both in terms of translating and editing the individual sources but also in compiling those texts in a specific order. Wyntoun’s role in introducing the medieval encyclopediaea tradition into Scots is recognised for the first ime. It contends that the act of compilation is deployed as Wyntoun’s primary method of adding meaning and significance to his work. In providing representative examples of this approach from throughout the Chronicle, it offers a fresh perspective on the work as a whole and opens up new readings of its individual episodes. It then applies this understanding to the final section of the Chronicle, often considered as the work of an ‘Anonymous Chronicler’. After reclaiming Wyntoun’s personal authorship of much of this portion of the work it posits a reading which suggests that the Chronicle both offers a critique of the Scots nobility and a recognition of the crucial role of the commoners in Scotland’s wars of independence.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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