The Lily and the Thistle: The French Tradition and the Older Literature of Scotland

The Lily and the Thistle: The French Tradition and the Older Literature of Scotland

Weight 0.00 lbs
By William Calin
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2013
World Rights
432 Pages
ISBN 9781442646650
Published Dec 2013
Online discount: 25%
 $72.00    $54.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442666252
Published Dec 2013
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $72.00

In The Lily and the Thistle, William Calin argues for a reconsideration of the French impact on medieval and renaissance Scottish literature. Calin proposes that much of traditional, medieval, and early modern Scottish culture, thought to be native to Scotland or primarily from England, is in fact strikingly international and European. By situating Scottish works in a broad intertextual context, Calin reveals which French genres and modes were most popular in Scotland and why.
The Lily and the Thistle provides appraisals of medieval narrative texts in the high courtly mode (equivalent to the French “dits amoureux”); comic, didactic, and satirical texts; and Scots romance. Special attention is accorded to texts composed originally in French such as the Arthurian “Roman de Fergus,” as well as to the lyrics of Mary Queen of Scots and little known writers from the French and Scottish canons. By considering both medieval and renaissance works, Calin is able to observe shifts in taste and French influence over the centuries.

William Calin is a graduate research professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Florida.


I. High Courtly Narrative: The Tale of Love

1. The Kingis Quair

2. Robert Henryson

3. Gavin Douglas

4. William Dunbar

5. John Rolland

II. The Comic, Didactic, and Satiric: A Mode of Clerical Provenance

1. Robert Henryson

2. William Dunbar

3. David Lyndsay

4. The Freiris of Berwik

5. King Hart


1. Fergus

2. Lancelot of the Laik

3. Golagros and Gawane

4. The Taill of Rauf Coilyear

5. Eger and Grime

IV. Scots Renaissance: Soundings

1. Mary Queen of Scots

2. King James VI

3. William Alexander

4. William Drummond of Hawthornden




The Lily and the Thistle is a valuable reference work in the field of Older Scots literature, re-opening the question of Franco-Scottish literary relations and providing both inspiration for new avenues of research and the means to initiate it.”

Rhiannon Purdie, School of English, University of St Andrews

“While we perhaps often take for granted the influence of French sources and genres on medieval texts, sometimes it takes a study like this to remind us of just how intertextual and international Scottish medieval and Renaissance literature was. The Lily and the Thistle provides fruitful approaches to thinking about the ‘European-ness’ of Scottish literature.”

Kate Ash, University of Manchester

‘An invaluable inspiration to future research in the field of Scottish literary study… The Lily and the Thistle is an important contribution to the understanding of Older Scots literature in its international and cultural context.’

Elizabeth Elliott, Scottish Literary Review vol 7:02:2015

‘Calin’s lively book works productively against restrictive views of nationalist literary traditions and invites further comparative study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.’

Lee Manion, Speculum, April 2015