Izvestiya of Saratov University.

Philology. Journalism

ISSN 1817-7115 (Print)
ISSN 2541-898X (Online)

For citation:

Ibragimova . R. David Lindsay’s fictive flyting. Journal Izvestiya of Saratov University. Philology. Journalism, 2023, vol. 23, iss. 4, pp. 364-369. DOI: 10.18500/1817-7115-2023-23-4-364-369, EDN: FEGWDN

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0).
Full text PDF(Ru):
Article type: 

David Lindsay’s fictive flyting

Ibragimova Karina Rashitovna, Lomonosov Moscow State University

The article examines the specifics of The Answer to the Kingis Flyting written by the Scottish poet David Lindsay (c. 1490 – c. 1555). This work is the only extant part of the poetic dialogue between the Scottish king James V and his mentor and courtier. It follows the tradition of Scottish court flyting, which traces back to the end of the 15th century and is analyzed in the article on the example of The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy which is supposedly the first work written in this genre. However, unlike the aforementioned flyting, where the opponents are equal in position, the poetic competition between the king and his subject forces the rivals to balance between abuse and praise. Thus, Lindsay’s answer is formally in line with the tradition of abuse poetry: the poet uses a significant amount of insults, comparing his opponent with animals, and touches on the “low” theme of impotence. However, most of the speaker’s insults are directed not at the crowned rival, but at himself. As in The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy, the main goal of a poetic dispute is to identify the best poet, but if equal opponents put themselves in this place, then Lindsay yields to his king. Lindsay uses attacks on the opponent, which are necessary for flyting, not to abuse but to instruct the ruler; the poet turns reproaches into advice. Thus, it turns out that, despite the formal signs of a poetic flyting, The Answer to the Kingis Flyting does not completely belong to the genre but imitates it.


  1. Fox D. The Scottish Chaucerians // Chaucer and Chaucerians: Critical Studies in Middle English Literature / ed. by D. S. Brewer. London : Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1966. P. 164–200.
  2. Princes and Princely Culture: 1450 –1650 / ed. by M. Gosman, A. MacDonald, A. Vanderjagt. Leiden : Brill, 2003. 357 р.
  3. Матюшина И. Г. Перебранка в древнегерманской словесности. М. : РГГУ, 2011. 304 с.
  4. Ибрагимова К. Р. Образ поэта в «Перебранке Данбара и Кеннеди» // Stephanos. 2020. № 1 (39). С. 111–117. https://doi.org/10.24249/2309-9917-2020-39-1-111-117, EDN: NJYVTW
  5. Lyndsay D. Sir David Lyndsay: Selected Poems / ed. by J. H. Williams. Glasgow : University of Glasgow, 2001. 348 p.
  6. Dunba W. William Dunbar: The Complete Works / ed. by J. Conlee. Kalamazoo, Michigan : Medieval Institute Publications, 2004. 488 р.
  7. Edington С. Court and Culture in Renaissance Scotland: Sir David Lindsay of the Mount. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 1994. 275 p.
  8. The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature / ed. by D. Wallace. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999. 1043 р.
  9. Sharpe K. Image Wars: Promoting Kings and Commonwealths in England, 1603–1660. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2010. 512 p.
  10. Bawcutt P. James VI’s Castalian Band: A Modern Myth // Scottish Historical Review. 2001. № 80. Р. 251–259.
  11. Rickard J. Writing the Monarch in Jacobean England. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2015. 284 p.


Available online: