Sunday, 27 November 2016

CHAUCER'S SUCCESSORS AND IMITATORS/CHAUCER’S INFLUENCE ON THE LATER ENGLISH POETS OF HIS AGE

Chaucer's influence on English poetry, even after his death, appears almost unparalleled in the history of English Literature . In fact,immediately after him, there was a trend to follow and imitate him and to produce literary works on his model.Of course,his successors and imitators were not quite successful in their imitation of their mighty master. In fact,the standard achieved by them is found below Chaucer's.
chaucer


Lydgate

Of Chaucer's immediate followers and imitators,John Lydgate is considered the most remarkable literary figure. He is even given a rank very near to his great master.But actually his literary achievements are nothing exceptional.His literary works have never the recognition of Chaucer's. 

Lydgate is taken as the most prolific author of the fifteenth century, rather of the whole of the middle English period. His composition is found to include about 1,43,000 lines.Lydgate's longest poems are The Storie of Thebes and The Troy Book,both of which are taken from notable French romances. His other works include Fall of Princes or Tragedies of John Bochas, adopted from Boccaccio's De Casibus Illustrium Virorum. The Temple of Glass and The Assembly of Gods are written in an allegorical vein.Lydgate is also the author of another voluminous work -The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man-which is sort of translation from the French works of Guillaume De Guileville. This iis also a sort of allegory and may be taken as forerunner of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.Of course, Lydgate has noting of Bunyan's moral conviction,character -painting and vigorous description. The best and most poetical among Lydgate's enormous works is,perhaps, The Life of Our Lady, containing several lives of the saints. This appears to bear the Cynewulfian tradition to versify the lives of saints.

Lydgate has some shorter verses, not at all of a high order,but well indicative of his poetical genius. Of them two of his bestiaries -The Churl and the Bird and The Horse, the Sheep and the Goose-may be mentioned as quite lively works. These two works are somewhat fables, written on the modelof Aesop.Chaucer's influence is noted here, though Lydgate never attained the chaucer-as-chronicler height.


Hoccleve

Among the English Chaucerians,Thomas Hoccleve is not as prolific an author as Lydgate, But like him, he is found to imitate Chaucer's, without any noticeable success.

Hoccleve is particularly noted for his Regement of Princes, based on the Latin work De Regimina Principum. The poem,of course a long one, contains some 5500 verses dealing with the matters of varied interests -political, ethical,ecclesiastical, and so on. The poem reveals his gift of story -telling, imitated from Chaucer.There are,no doubt, some dissertations,with illustrations,that make the work didactic.


Some other Literary Names

Besides Hoccleve aand Lydgate,the best known English Chaucerians,therw are a number of other followers and imitators.They include Benedict Burgh,George Ashby,John Walton and Henry Bradshaw.Their verses,mainly didactic, illustrate amply the decadence that came over Chaucer's imitators.

In addition to those imitators,there are several poems,written by other poets but there is no definite indication of authorship here.Of such poems,bearing Chaucerian traits, may be mentioned The Second MerchantLydgate is taken as the most prolific author of the fifteenth century, rather of the whole of the middle English period. His composition is found to include about 1,43,000 lines.Lydgate's longest poems are The Storie of Thebes and The Troy Book,both of which are taken from notable French romances. His other works include Fall of Princes or Tragedies of John Bochas, adopted from Boccaccio's De Casibus Illustrium Virorum. The Temple of Glass and The Assembly of Gods are written in an allegorical vein.Lydgate is also the author of another voluminous work -The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man-which is sort of translation from the French works of Guillaume De Guileville. This iis also a sort of allegory and may be taken as forerunner of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.Of course, Lydgate has noting of Bunyan's moral conviction,character -painting and vigorous description. The best and most poetical among Lydgate's enormous works is,perhaps, The Life of Our Lady, containing several lives of the saints. This appears to bear the Cynewulfian tradition to versify the lives of saints.

Lydgate has some shorter verses, not at all of a high order,but well indicative of his poetical genius. Of them two of his bestiaries -The Churl and the Bird and The Horse, the Sheep and the Goose-may be mentioned as quite lively works. These two works are somewhat fables, written on the modelof Aesop.Chaucer's influence is noted here, though Lydgate never attained the Chaucerian height.

Hawes

The last important name among the English chaucerians is Stephen Hawes .He wrote towards the end of the fifteenth century and in the opening of the sixteenth, at aa time when the courtly poetry of the Chaucerian tradition had become almost antiquated. In fact,in Stephen Hawes is found the last exponent of that great tradition. 

The Scottish Chaucerians
Chaucer's literary influence in his age was not confined to England only.It extended to scotland and proved instrumental to the emergence of the golden age of Scotish poetry in the 15th century .As a matter of fact,the Scottish poets,inspired by Chaucer.

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