‘Sportis and Jocositeis’
This chapter discusses the other types of Dunbar's poems, which are not of spiritual orthodoxy but lean towards cynicism, irreverence and celebration of the pleasures of life. Instead of those of an idealistic or hierarchic world-view, this chapter shows Dunbar's poems of the topsy-turvy world, in which the laws of nature and society are flouted and disregarded. It looks into his comedy and comic poems which originated as bourds; some of which are crude and ephemeral jest while others are subtle and sophisticated. In this and the succeeding two chapters, the focus is on the genres in which Dunbar excels; parody and irony, flyting and fantasy. A careful analysis and discussion on his comic poems that employ low and vulgar diction, replete with ambiguities, puns, double-meanings and word-play, and which make their tone complex and difficult to gauge, is included. Their moral tones, which are amused rather than indignant and offer sardonic and vulgar comments on human folly, are also discussed.
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