‘He Rewlis Weill that Weill him self can Gyd’
This introductory chapter prefaces the subsequent collection of essays, dedicated to Professor Sally Mapstone. After an overview of the critical field and outline of the importance of kingship and Advice to Princes in the Older Scots literary tradition, the main body of the chapter first examines the centrality of advisory discourse in the poetry of Robert Henryson and William Dunbar, before analysing key scenes of royal reading and writing in Barbour’s Bruce, James I’s Kingis Quair, Walter Bower’s Scotichronicon, and John Shirley’s fulle lamentable cronicle of þe deþe and fals murdre of James Steward, last Kinge of Scottes. It explores both the signal relationship between themes of reading, writing, and rule, and the way in which such acts are transformed into self-consciously ethical activities. The second half of the chapter summarizes and draws together the essays that follow.
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