John Lydgate

John Lydgate (lĬd´gāt), c.1370–c.1450, English poet, a monk of Bury St. Edmunds. A professed disciple of Chaucer, he was one of the most influential, voluminous, and versatile writers of the Middle Ages. His works may be divided into three classes: (1) poems written in the Chaucerian manner, such as the Complaint of the Black Knight, which resembles Chaucer's Book of the Duchess, and the allegory The Temple of Glass; (2) lengthy translations, of which the Troy Book (from the Latin of Guido della Colonna), The Fall of Princes (from the French of Laurent de Premierfait), and The Siege of Thebes (also from the French), are the best known; (3) short pieces, including fables, saints' lives, and devotional, philosophic, and occasional poems. After Lydgate's death his fame diminished rapidly. His poetry has been criticized for its prolixity and prosaic style.

See his Poems, ed. by J. Norton-Smith (1966); biography by L. A. Ebin (1985); study by D. A. Pearsall (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

John Lydgate: Selected full-text books and articles

John Lydgate: A Study in the Culture of the XVth Century By Walter F. Schirmer; Ann E. Keep University of California Press, 1961
The Long Fifteenth Century: Essays for Douglas Gray By Douglas Gray; Helen Cooper; Sally Mapstone Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "'Dysemol Daies and Fatal Houres': Lydgate's Destruction of Thebes and Chaucer's Knight's Tale"
The Glass of Form: Mirroring Structures from Chaucer to Skelton By Anna Torti D.S. Brewer, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Two "'Atwixen Two so Hang I in Balance': Lydgate and the Temple of Glas"
The Medieval Siege: Theme and Image in Middle English Romance By Malcolm Hebron Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. I "The Prose of Thebes, Military Manuals, and the Conduct of Sieges in the Later Middle Ages"
Pestilence in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature By Bryon Lee Grigsby Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "John Lydgate's Dietary and 'A Doctrine for Pestilence'" begins on p. 131
Medieval Venuses and Cupids: Sexuality, Hermeneutics, and English Poetry By Theresa Tinkle Stanford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Ephemeral Hermeneutics: Lydgatean Poetry and Commentary" begins on p. 129
New Directions in Later Medieval Manuscript Studies By Derek Pearsall York Medieval Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The 'Decommissioning' of John Lydgate's Chaucer" begins on p. 192
Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England By Corinne Saunders D.S. Brewer, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Lydgate begins on p. 166
Humor in British Literature, from the Middle Ages to the Restoration: A Reference Guide By Don L. E. Nilsen Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Lydgate begins on p. 31
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