The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, University of Strathclyde, 1993

By Graham Caie; Roderick J. Lyall et al. | Go to book overview

ROSEMARY GREENTREE


16. Who Knows if all that Critics Wrote was
True? Some thoughts on Robert Henryson’s
‘biography’

Of Robert Henryson’s life almost nothing is known for certain except that he
was schoolmaster in Dunfermline, probably of the Abbey School there.

So David Murison begins the introduction to his Selections from the Poems of Robert Henryson, and the thoughts are expressed, with striking similarity, in other editions of Henryson’s poems.1 We may wonder why editors stress first the lack of biographical information about our poet and then his profession, which has, from the first, been attached to Henryson’s name, particularly if they heed the admonition from G. Gregory Smith:

We know so little about Henryson’s life that the task of an editor who is
expected to offer the customary ‘Memoir’ resolves itself in the main into
warning the reader against the surmises and fictions of his predecessors.2

The Harleian manuscript and Bassandyne, Charteris and Hart prints of the Moral Fables refer to ‘the schoolmaster of Dunfermline,’ and the Charteris and Anderson prints of The Testament of Cresseid style him ‘Master Robert Henryson.’ Both traditions were observed by H. Harvey Wood, who called his edition The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline, and began his introduction: ‘Of the life of Robert Henryson little is known.’3

Information is scanty, but not confined to the matter of Henryson’s vocation of schoolmaster. There are records of the signature of a Robert Henryson, a notary public, yet this respected title seems never to be used with the poet’s name. The admission of a Robert Henryson as a member of the University of Glasgow is also noted. The name ‘Robert Henryson’ was not an unusual one, and these records are not accepted by all editors as applying to the poet.4 It is prudent to heed the first sentence of Charles Elliott’s biographical note:

1 David Murison, Selections from the Poems of Robert Henryson (Edinburgh: The Saltire Society, Oliver and Boyd, 1952).

2 G. Gregory Smith, ed., The Poems of Robert Henryson, 3 vols (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, Blackwood, 1914), 1: xix.

3 H. Harvey Wood, The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, Schoolmaster of Dunfermline, rev. ed. (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1958) xi.

4 Denton Fox accepts both, as stated in his edition The Poems of Robert Henryson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981) xiii. W.M. Metcalfe accepts the admission, with some reservations about its value, in The Poems of Robert Henryson (Paisley: Gardner, 1917) xiii. Wood cautiously refers to Laing’s list of numerous contemporary Henrysons (xiii). Smith, is frankly sceptical about records found in ‘the homeland of the Hendersons’ (xxiv).

-181-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The European Sun: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Language and Literature, University of Strathclyde, 1993
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 544

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.