Troy Book: Introduction

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Troy Book: Introduction

from: Troy Book: Selections  1998

Troy Book is one of the most ambitious attempts in medieval vernacular poetry to recount the story of the Trojan war. John Lydgate, monk of the great Benedictine abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, began composing the poem in October 1412 on commission from Henry, Prince of Wales, later King Henry V, and he completed it in 1420. Lydgate's poem is a translation and expansion of Guido delle Colonne's Historia destructionis Troiae, a Latin prose account written in 1287 but based, without acknowledgement, on Benoît de Sainte-Maure's Old French Roman de Troie (c. 1160). Troy Book presents the full narrative and mythographic sweep that the Middle Ages expected for the story of Troy's tragic downfall. Though Lydgate wrote the poem some three decades after Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, it furnishes the essential background that educated medieval readers would have brought to Chaucer's poem and to Chaucer's source, Boccaccio's Filostrato. It is background as well for the myths of origins adopted by medieval nations and regions, which claimed descent from the heroes driven to new lands by Troy's fall.

Lydgate's poem is one of several translations of Guido's Historia into Middle English. The Laud Troy Book and the alliterative Destruction of Troy are near contemporaries. All three poems follow the arc of Guido's narrative as it moves from the remote origins of the war in Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece to the heroic battles and downfall of Priam's Troy and finally to the catastrophes awaiting the Greek victors on their homecoming. Lydgate gives, however, a defining shape to Guido's account where the other translations are content to reproduce its sequence of action. In a gesture of acknowledgement and homage to Chaucer's "litel tragedye," Lydgate brings a five-book structure to Guido's thirty-five shorter books. He thereby balances the opening and closing movements and makes Hector's death in Book 3 the narrative center and turning point of the story. Troy Book also differs from its contemporaries by making significant additions to the outlines of Guido's story. Lydgate adds materials from Ovid, Christine de Pisan (for Hector's death), and authorities like Fulgentius (for mythology), Isidore of Seville (for mythography), Jacobus de Cessolis (for the invention of chess), and John Trevisa (for the labors of Hercules). The result is a poem longer, more diffuse in focus, and more consciously learned than its predecessors or contemporaries. As Derek Pearsall remarks, "The Troy Book is a homily first, an encyclopedia second, and an epic nowhere" (1970, p. 129).

In the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Troy Book enjoyed considerable reputation and influence. Not long after it was composed, it served as the source for a prose Sege of Troy, which retold the story through the fall of the city at the end of Lydgate's Book 4. In The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (STC 15375), the first book printed in English (c. 1475), William Caxton professes that there is no need for him to translate the portion of his French source, Raoul Lefévre's Recueil des Histoires de Troie, dealing with the fall of Troy: "And as for the thirde book whiche treteth of the generall and last destruccioun of Troye Hit nedeth not to translate hit into englissh ffor as moche as that worshifull and religyous man dan John lidgate monke of Burye did translate hit but late // after whos werke I fere to take upon me that am not worthy to bere his penner and ynke horne after hym, to medle me in that werke" (Epilogue to Book 2). Troy Book's classical topic, narrative scope, and moral purpose probably had something to do with William Dunbar's inclusion of Lydgate with Chaucer and John Gower as a triad of originary English poets in his early-sixteenth-century "Lament for the Makaris": "The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour, / The Monk of Bery, and Gower, all thre" (lines 50-51). Richard Pynson printed the first edition of Troy Book in 1513, under the title The hystorye / sege and dystruccyon of Troye (STC 5579). As A. S. G. Edwards and Carol M. Meale note, Pynson's edition was printed at the command of Henry VIII to manipulate public opinion in his first French compaign (p. 99). Thomas Marshe printed a second edition in 1555, with a prefatory epistle by Robert Braham (STC 5580). The continuing influence of Troy Book can be detected in Thomas Heywood's modernization, printed in 1614 as The Life and Death of Hector (STC 13346a), and in the works of Robert Henryson, Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare. The sense of Trojan history and particularly of Cressida's character in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida bear the imprint of Lydgate's poem.

Troy Book incorporates a distinctly medieval approach to its subject matter. As Chaucer shows in the House of Fame and Troilus and Criseyde, medieval writers knew Homer only as a name. Moreover, they discounted the poetic tradition associated with him, even as they recognized its cultural authority and struggled ambivalently to appropriate it to their own ends. For them, the claims of the Troy story lie not in the fables of the poets but in the truth of what they took to be historical witness. Such witness was provided by Dares and Dictys, who were supposedly contemporary observers of the war. A fragment of a Greek text of Dictys survives, but the chief sources are Dares's De excidio Troiae historia and Dictys's Ephemeridos belli Troiani, two late Latin texts purporting to translate Greek originals. However spare their accounts of heroes and battles may be, these accounts established the idea for the Middle Ages that the Trojan War could be approached as history with the same factual basis as found in chronicles. Joseph of Exeter's Frigii Daretis Ylias (dated 1188-90) is one example of the continuing claim to historicity that surrounded such chronicle writing. Benoît drew on Dares and Dictys to compose his Roman de Troie. He goes beyond the accounts in his sources, however, to introduce an exotic and chivalric locale that figures prominently in subsequent medieval versions of the story. Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (dated 1135) claimed a Trojan origin for the British monarchy and people. The poet of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight deliberately frames his Arthurian romance with references to the fall of Troy. In addition to its narrative, the Troy story offered an example to be studied for its lessons in statecraft and moral conduct. Greeks and Trojans participate in the same chivalric culture, and their actions serve as examples of how to govern both a kingdom and its aristocratic subjects.

The medieval approach to the Troy story also implies a particular sense of authorship. Lois Ebin argues that Lydgate regards his literary role as that of "an orderer and civilizer of men" (1985, p. 39) who transmits the lessons of the past. Lydgate makes it clear that he sees his poetic task as "making" (the technical composition of verse) rather than original creation. Like Chaucer, he does not call himself a poet. His translation follows medieval literary conventions by rendering the sense of Guido's text rather than striving for word-for-word equivalences (2.180). Just as Guido supposedly follows Dares and Dictys so that "in effecte the substaunce is the same" (Pro. 359) in both source and translation, so Lydgate hopes that, despite any flaws in meter, his readers will find "[t]he story pleyn, chefly in substaunce" (5.3543). Lydgate ascribes to Guido a rhetorical skill (Pro. 360-69) that other readers might well dispute, but he understood Guido's intentions accurately. As Guido explains at the end of the Historia (Book 35), his work presents a truthful historical account ("ueram noticiam") embellished by rhetorical colors and figures. Lydgate regards his source and, by extension, himself as part of a tradition of chroniclers for whom language is superficial and external to actual meaning. "Ye may beholde in her wrytyng wel," he says confidently, "The stryfe, the werre, the sege and everydel, / Ryghte as it was, so many yeres passyd" (Pro. 247-49).

The truth of such historical writing ostensibly sets it apart from poetry. Lydgate's way of expressing this difference is to contrast the transparency of history and the opacity of poetry. The chronicle story of Troy is open and plain; we can grasp its "substaunce" apart from any rhetorical effects. The poets use "veyn fables" in order to "hyde trouthe falsely under cloude, / And the sothe of malys for to schroude" (Pro. 265-66). Homer's honey-sweet words only disguise the gall inside. Ovid and Vergil fall under the same suspicion:
Ovide also poetycally hath closyd
Falshede with trouthe, that maketh men ennosed
To whiche parte that thei schal hem holde;
His mysty speche so hard is to unfolde
That it entriketh rederis that it se.
Virgile also for love of Enee
In Eneydos rehersyth moche thyng
And was in party trewe of his writyng,
Exsepte only that hym lyst som whyle
The tracys folwe of Omeris stile.
(Pro. 299-308)
traces (ideas)
Here and elsewhere, Lydgate uses the same images for poets that he applies in the narrative to characters who employ deceitful language to mislead others and subvert just deliberation.

Besides historical truth, the Troy story carries exemplary meaning for medieval and Renaissance culture. Walter Schirmer observes that the tales connected with Troy were regarded "as a historical work containing all the moral and political lessons which history was expected to teach" (p. 44). An important feature of Lydgate's moralizing is its rather precise focus. The lessons of Troy Book apply on one level to kingship and statecraft and on another to the individual within an aristocratic, chivalric world. The capacity to foresee consequences or control anger, for example, serves a king in his political role as a governor and a hero in his public office as an adviser, advocate, or warrior. Conspicuous by its absence is a larger social vision. Troy Book concedes the need in several places to account for popular opinion. Priam's rebuilding of Troy in Book 2, for example, incorporates the gesture of vesting its builders with citizenship so that the founding of a new city is simultaneously the creation of a new state. But Lydgate offers nothing really comparable to John Gower's appeal in his Confessio Amantis to the commons as a source for political legitimacy or to the estates as a basis of stable government and institutions. Lydgate's moralization of Troy's history offers an aristocratic perspective rather than a social vision. It is a mirror for kings and nobles.

The principal lesson that Lydgate's Troy story offers its royal, aristocratic, and noble readers is the virtue of prudence. In Book 6 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defines prudence as an intellectual virtue by which one can deliberate about particular goods and the practical steps toward attaining them. Prudence considers means rather than ends, and it addresses things that are variable rather than true and unchanging. Thomas Aquinas's phrase "recta ratio agibilium" - right reason directed toward what can be done - captures the spirit of Aristotle's idea and shows its application to politics and statecraft. Prudence is commonly described as an "imperative" virtue, governing all the others. The importance of prudence for rulers is a standard precept from medieval political theorists like John of Salisbury and Marsilius of Padua to Lydgate's English contemporaries, Thomas Hoccleve and Thomas Usk. Chaucer signals its importance in The Tale of Melibee and makes it the virtue Criseyde lacks (Troilus and Criseyde 5.744). In the imitation of the pseudo-Aristotelian Secreta secretorum that he undertook at the very end of his life, Lydgate has prudence rule over the other virtues needed by a king.

At the end of Troy Book (Env. 36-42), Lydgate presents Solomon as the Biblical model of prudence. But the character who best embodies prudence in Lydgate's poem is Hector, the figurative root of all chivalry (2.244). Hector's prudence extends from practical wisdom in infantry tactics to political governance, moral example, skill in debate and deliberation, self-containment, and foresight. As Lydgate describes him, he is an ideal because of his traits of character and judgment: "He had in hym sovereine excellence, / And governaunce medlid with prudence, / That nought asterte him, he was so wis and war" (3.489-91). Significantly, it is Hector who urges restraint when Priam seeks support from the Trojan council to avenge Hesione's abduction by Telamon after the fall of Lamedon's Troy:
But first I rede, wysely in your mynde
To cast aforn and leve nat behynde,
Or ye begynne, discretly to adverte
And prudently consyderen in your herte
Al, only nat the gynnyng but the ende
And the myddes, what weie thei wil wende,
And to what fyn Fortune wil hem lede:
Yif ye thus don, amys ye may nat spede.


     not only

His death "thorugh necligence only of his shelde" (3.5399) is surely the most interesting contradiction of Lydgate's poem. Hector's fatal lapse, which Lydgate adds to Guido's narrative, does not compromise Hector's heroic stature so much as challenge the primacy of prudence as a virtue that can be applied to so many facets of human experience.

Lydgate's depiction of prudence also reveals the way in which he expects his moralizations and the exemplarity of the Troy story to be understood. C. David Benson points out that Lydgate's moralizing is practical rather than spiritual (1980, pp. 116-24). In particular, prudence seems to offer a remedy to Fortune and the transitory world. Lydgate's panorama of pagan history from Jason's quest outward through Ulysses's return home sketches a world of unknown and hidden consequences. Remote, even trivial causes set tragic events in motion: "of sparkys that ben of syghte smale / Is fire engendered that devoureth al" (1.785-86). Thus Lamedon's discourtesy in denying Jason temporary respite in his land initiates a cycle of vengeance that destroys Troy twice. The governing mechanism of history is Boethian Fortune, a compound of sheer accident and of consequences proceeding from hidden and only partially understood choices. Boethius's remedy is to see past the mutability of the world and finally reject the secular for the transcendent. But for pagans trapped in their history and for Christian chivalry and rulers who cannot abandon the duties of worldly governance, prudence offers the only means for navigating the reversals of Fortune. Still, if prudence is the chief virtue of Troy Book, it also generates the profound moral contradiction that inhabits the center of Lydgate's poem. In the Troy story, prudence means right reason, foresight, cleverness, eloquence, and practical wisdom, but it also comes to mean cunning, deceit, and false language. While Lydgate extols the value of prudence throughout the story, he ends Book 5 of Troy Book by asserting the fragility of human institutions before Fortune and giving a final definition to prudence. "For oure lyf here is but a pilgrymage," he says, citing a medieval commonplace. If men would "toforn prudently adverte" (5.3573), they would put little trust in worldly things. Through the example of Troy, princes, lords, and kings can see that in this life none of them "may have ful sureté" (5.3578).

To judge from the reception of Troy Book and the marginal commentary recorded in the manuscripts, medieval and early Renaissance readers understood Lydgate's moralizations on the level he intended them and not necessarily in their fuller, tragic implications. On the fly leaf at the end of one Troy Book manuscript (Rawlinson poet. 144), an anonymous sixteenth-century reader takes to heart Lydgate's protest that he writes true meaning but with little craft. Ancient English books, says this reader, show little art; ignorance darkened understanding in those earlier times, "but mark the substance of this book / In wiche this mownk such paynes hath vndertook" (Bergen 4:52). He then goes on, without any sense of contradiction, to connect Lydgate with precisely the poetic fabrication from which he strives to distinguish Troy Book in his Prologue:
A, story tys sone writt, thats nothing true,
And poets haue it decte, with vading hewe.
So lydgat hath a poets lycence tooke
By vayne discowrce, with lyes to farce this book,
Yet dothe his paynes, Joynd with Obedience,
Deserve dew prayse, & worthy recompence.
Various manuscripts preserve marginal responses to Lydgate's sententious passages in Troy Book. In Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.876, Agamemnon's speech to Menelaus, counseling him to disguise his grief at Helen's loss (2.4337-4429), carries the marginal reminder, "note thes | and follow." In Rawlinson C.446, a sixteenth-century reader has added verses on the dishonorable deaths of Hector and Troilus at the hands of Achilles. In the Pierpont Morgan manuscript and in slightly later manuscripts (dating from the mid-fifteenth century onwards), pointing hands mark various passages in the text, especially those dealing with the supposed perfidy of women.

Manuscript illustrations provide another means of grasping how Lydgate's contemporaries might have read his poem. Eight manuscripts, including the four oldest witnesses, have miniatures, and at least six others have decorated borders or initials. The textual and visual layout of the manuscripts show that Troy Book was a prestige item, appearing as the sole text in the earliest witnesses and with the Siege of Thebes and the romance Generydes in several later manuscripts. One manuscript, which cannot be identified from among extant witnesses and may not have survived, was, of course, a presentation copy for Lydgate's patron, Henry V. Coats of arms indicate that Troy Book manuscripts were owned by fifteenth-century gentry and, in at least one instance, by aristocracy. In the later case (Royal 18.D.ii), the conventional portrait of Lydgate presenting the poem to the king is displaced by a scene that shows the owner, Sir William Herbert, First Earl of Pembroke and his second wife, Anne Devereux, in postures of homage to the king.

Kathleen L. Scott proposes that the manuscript was intended as a presentation gift to Henry VI or Edward IV and that it may register Herbert's shift of allegiance from the Lancastrian to the Yorkist cause (1996, 2:282-84). Lesley Lawton observes that there is a uniform sequence of miniatures in the manuscripts which reflects Lydgate's structural reordering of Guido's narrative into five books. Miniatures introduce the Prologue and the first major incident of each of the five books; they are visual markers of the formal divisions of the text. The opening of Book 2, where Lydgate complains about Fortune, occasions some divergence among the illustrations. Four manuscripts have a miniature of the goddess Fortuna, while the other four represent Priam's siege (2.203), the first event in the narrative. For Books 3 and 4, Royal 18.D.ii adds illustrations to highlight Troilus. Even when the number of miniatures is increased in manuscripts from the later fifteenth century, the basic program remains intact. In addition, a "decorative hierarchy" governs the use of initials in the text, emphasizing such features as seasonal descriptions and other examples of Lydgate's amplification. Royal 18.D.ii contains extensive rubrics to guide the reader. The overall effect of the miniatures, initials, and rubrics in Troy Book manuscripts is to delineate the formal order of Lydgate's poem rather than provide a visual representation parallel to the written text. Pynson's edition retains these manuscript features, while dividing the text into both Lydgate's five books and a reminiscence of Guido's original thirty-five books plus Lydgate's Prologue and final materials. Marshe's 1555 edition eliminates the woodcuts but uses rubrics and blank spaces to mark structural divisions.

For a full understanding of Troy Book, Lydgate's historical and literary contexts prove as important as the narrative scope and thematic complexity of the poem. Ebin describes Troy Book and the Siege of Thebes, the poem composed directly after it and finished in 1422, as "public poems" (p. 39). Pearsall calls Troy Book "an instrument of national prestige" as well as a chivalric and moral exemplar (1970, p. 69). Schirmer proposes that Henry's commission involved a poetic rivalry with Benoît's Roman de Troie and Guido's Historia (pp. 42-43). Certainly, Lydgate's description of Henry's motives bears out some of this claim. Henry seeks to preserve the worthiness of true knighthood and "the prowesse of olde chivalrie" so that his contemporaries can find examples for pursuing virtue and rejecting sloth and idleness. He commissions Lydgate to make the exemplary force of the story available to all by creating an English equivalent to the French and Latin histories:
By cause he wolde that to hyghe and lowe
The noble story openly wer knowe
In oure tonge, aboute in every age,
And ywriten as wel in oure langage
As in Latyn and in Frensche it is,
That of the story the trouthe we nat mys
No more than doth eche other nacioun:
This was the fyn of his entencioun.
(Pro. 111-18)
      were known

That Henry should choose Lydgate, a monk of Bury St. Edmunds, to carry out such a weighty task reflects political allegiances and an intricate network of personal connections. Bury St. Edmonds had a long association with the English crown, and it actively supported royal interests during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. Far from retreating from the world, the great monasteries of the day cultivated economic and political ties with secular institutions. Lydgate's profession as a monk makes him in some measure an agent of ecclesiastical public policy. Though he entered the monastery at about age fifteen, he spent much of his life outside and even overseas, until his retirement to St. Edmunds in the early 1440s. From the commission to write Troy Book in 1412, he served in effect as a court poet, and the record of later commissions, such as the Fall of Princes for Duke Humphrey, shows his popularity and adaptability to occasions. Some recent scholars have proposed that one of the underlying objectives of Lydgate's work is to affirm Lancastrian legitimacy. Lydgate's address to Henry in the Envoy of Troy Book subtly raises these issues. The poet addresses his sovereign not only as the source of knighthood but as one "born also by discent of lyne / As rightful eyr by title to atteyne, / To bere a crowne of worthi rewmys tweyne" (Env. 5-7). Though the immediate reference is to English claims to the French crown, the effect is tacitly to affirm Henry IV's usurpation of the English throne and Henry V's legitimate succession of his father.

The link with Henry also has some enticing biographical dimensions. Lydgate spent time at Oxford in Gloucester College, which the Benedictines maintained for monks engaged in university study. Henry had studied at Queen's College in 1394, and sometime between 1406 and 1408 wrote Lydgate's abbot asking for permission for Lydgate to continue his studies, either in divinity or canon law. Henry's letter mentions that he has heard good reports about Lydgate; it does not indicate necessarily that the Prince of Wales and the monk had a personal acquaintance. John Norton-Smith proposes, however, that Lydgate resided in Oxford from approximately 1397 to 1408 and that he met Henry (p. 195n). The rubrics of Lydgate manuscripts owned by the fifteenth-century antiquarian John Shirley suggest that Lydgate and Henry shared interests in the liturgy, but these are textual sources that postdate Troy Book. Henry's religious fervor matched his enthusiasm for tales of chivalry. Schirmer argues that Lydgate's attitude differs from his patron's endorsement of military adventure. He contends, for example, that Lydgate initially invokes Mars (Pro. 1-37) but reproves him (4.4440-4536) after Henry becomes king. In his view, the line "[a]lmost for nought was this strif begonne" (2.7855) refers not just to the Trojan War but also to the pointlessness of the French war. Lydgate's peace sentiments seem, however, more the expression of commonplace counsel than a rejection of Henry's policies. To be sure, there are profound tensions and contradictions in Troy Book, but they grow out of the narrative that Lydgate recounts and embellishes and not from a kind of authorial resistance. In its immediate historical context, the poem aims to affirm chivalric virtues, offer examples and moral precepts, and celebrate the national myth of Trojan origins.

The literary rather than the historical context of Troy Book is a more likely source of ambivalence. Lydgate situates himself conspicuously within literary tradition, even if he knows many of the authors who comprise that tradition only at second hand. Guido is the author whose achievement he serves, Chaucer is his acknowledged master, and the treasures of encyclopedic learning and anthology literature lie about as sources for embellishing the Troy narrative with scientific, mythographic, and historical commentary. E. B. Atwood proposes that, for Lydgate, Guido has completely superseded Benoît, the poet who initially gave the medieval Troy story its admixture of classical and chivalric elements. All the details on which Lydgate and Benoît agree, says Atwood, are also contained in Guido, and so there is no direct influence on Lydgate from the original French source of his story. Of the classical auctores, Lydgate knew only Ovid well. He goes to the Ovidian sources to add more when Guido cites them and uses Ovid elsewhere as a supplement to Guido. Lydgate's acquaintance with Vergil is by all accounts scant or indirect. His references to the Aeneid show, for instance, that he depended on the story of Dido contained in Chaucer's The Legend of Good Women. Other classical authors he knew largely through anthologies and grammars. The library at Bury St. Edmunds gives some sense of the practical form literary culture might have taken for Lydgate. It contained over 2,000 volumes in Lydgate's day, and it was notable for its holdings among Patristic writers, later commentators on the Bible, classical authors, theologians, and encyclopedic writers. It contained two manuscripts of Guido and possibly a copy of Gower's Confessio Amantis. All the materials for embellishing an authoritative historical text with the apparatus of learned comments, excursus, and interpolations lay readily to hand. The one manuscript positively associated with Lydgate (Bodleian Library MS Laud 233) has two works by Isidore, sermons by Hilbert of Le Mons, and brief quotations from Vergil and Horace.

The bookishness of this literary context shows itself perhaps most apparently in Lydgate's rhetorical amplifications. Pearsall observes, "Lydgate's expansiveness clearly forms part of a deliberate poetic style" (1970, p. 7), but for Troy Book it may be still nearer the case to speak of a poetics of amplification. The conceptual and thematic counterpart to the poet's task of "making" is the addition of new materials suitable to the passage that Lydgate is translating at any given point. Lydgate finds the warrant for such practice in Guido himself. Guido adds rhetorical colors to "[t]his noble story" and "many riche flour / Of eloquence to make it sownde bet / He in the story hath ymped in and set" (Pro. 363-66). Lydgate's amplifications take the form of learned digressions on mythography and science, additional speeches, set-piece descriptions, formal laments, and seasonal descriptions. The aim of such amplification is not, however, merely dilation. Ebin contends that the additions are part of a program directed toward securing a place within literary culture: "Lydgate's changes in the Troy Book reveal his concern with elevating the narrative and creating a monumental version of the story in English, loftier and more impressive than any before him" (1985, p. 51). Moreover, the additions afford Lydgate the opportunity to develop his own thematic interests. His reproval of Guido's antifeminism, though by no means unproblematic (see note to 3.4343-4448), is one example. Benson argues that Lydgate uses Christine de Pisan's Epistre Othea to introduce a new view of Hector and the value of prudence (1980, pp. 124-29). Schirmer finds three major themes in Lydgate's formal digressions: transitoriness, war and discord, and encyclopedic learning (p. 47).

The other defining feature of Lydgate's literary context is the influence of Chaucer as both inspiration and rival. Troy Book contains laudatory passages that not only offer praise for Chaucer but also shape literary history by establishing him as the father of English poetry. Robert O. Payne observes that Chaucer offered Lydgate a double model of poetic originator and craftsman (p. 255). Chaucer is "Noble Galfride, poete of Breteyne" (2.4697). His great achievement is to have exploited the rhetorical possibilities of English and thereby to have established it as a literary idiom comparable to classical languages and other European vernaculars. He was the firste "to reyne / The gold dewedropis of rethorik so fyne, / Oure rude langage only t'enlwmyne" (2.4698-4700). He is the "chefe poete" (3.4256), the English counterpart of Petrarch as poet laureate.
For he owre Englishe gilte with his sawes,
Rude and boistous firste be olde dawes,
That was ful fer from al perfeccioun
And but of litel reputacioun,
Til that he cam and thorugh his poetrie
Gan oure tonge firste to magnifie
And adourne it with his elloquence . . .

gilded; tales
Unpolished; rough; days

make greater in importance
Elsewhere Lydgate says that the death of "[t]he noble rhetor" (3.553) leaves him without counsel or correction, and so he goes "[c]olourles" - without rhetorical figures - to his composition. When he later submits the finished work for correction to his readers, he invokes the image of Chaucer as a gentle and beneficent master who genially overlooks defects in the works offered to him: "Hym liste nat pinche nor gruche at every blot" (5.3522).

It is unlikely that Lydgate actually knew or ever met Chaucer. He did have connections with Thomas Chaucer and Thomas's daughter, Alice, the Duchess of Suffolk. Some recent criticism wants to see in these connections a link between establishing the Chaucer canon and furthering Lancastrian politics. The important point, however, is that Lydgate constructs the paternal figure of Chaucer and, through that figure, his own literary pose of discipleship and "dullness" - the persona of a belated, deferential, and supposedly inadequate latter-day follower. Chaucer had, of course, already perfected the role of the humble literary artisan, its commonplaces of modesty and inability, and its characteristic phrasing. Lydgate's innovation is to position himself with respect to Chaucer just as Chaucer had positioned himself with respect to the classical auctores. Later writers show that the process can go a step further. Lydgate's discipleship can be transmitted to his successors. Caxton says that Lydgate's version of Troy's fall is too strong to emulate. In his Pastime of Pleasure (1509), Stephen Hawes claims to write without rhetoric or "colour crafty": "Nothynge I am/ experte in poetry / As the monke of Bury/ floure of eloquence / Whiche was in tyme/ of grete excellence" (lines 26-28).

Lydgate's echoes and allusions make it clear that he had access to Chaucer's work, though monastic libraries possessed few vernacular manuscripts, still fewer in English. Lydgate obviously knew The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, and a number of the pieces comprising the Canterbury Tales. In his description of the Greeks' landing to destroy Lamedon's Troy (1.3907-43), Lydgate goes so far as to hazard an imitation of the opening of the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, with disastrous results. The Notes to the present edition give examples of the wide range of allusion to Chaucer that runs throughout Troy Book. Atwood divides the borrowings into classical material for which Chaucer served as an intermediary and "miscellaneous fine phrases and descriptive passages" (pp. 35-36). At those points where he strives most to represent himself within the poem, Lydgate recalls Chaucer's narrative persona, even if the occasional efforts at comic deflation fail, as in the uneven, shifting tone of his reproval of Guido's misogyny.

Troilus and Criseyde is, of course, the poem that bears most immediately on Troy Book and Lydgate's relation to Chaucer. Chaucer's poem is Lydgate's subtext, even though Lydgate's subject matter furnishes the background for Chaucer's poem. More important, Troilus and Criseyde is the literary work that fully embodies Chaucer for Lydgate, as it did for readers in the Renaissance. Lydgate concedes there is no need for him to retell the lovers' story after Chaucer, but he goes on to summarize it and echo the style and content of its conclusion (3.4196-4230). He even works mention of Chaucer's description of Criseyde (Troilus and Criseyde 5.803-26) into his own adaptation of Chaucer's inability topos (2.4676-93). Benson would find in Troy Book the beginnings of a distinct historical sense, derived from Troilus and Criseyde, that views pagan antiquity as a remote and radically different cultural world to be investigated almost ethnographically for its rites and beliefs, false though they be. At the same time that it proclaims discipleship, however, Troy Book competes with Chaucer's poem in the scope of its ambition. Chaucer's genius, following from Boccaccio's Filostrato, is to portray the intimate, private sphere of antiquity and the epic. Lydgate gives the larger, encompassing story. As Anna Torti rightly points out, the love story of Troilus and Criseyde is one of many love stories counterpointing the war in Guido and Lydgate (p. 180). Following perhaps the narrator's suggestion in Troilus and Criseyde (1.144-45) that "the Troian gestes" can be found "[i]n Omer, or in Dares, or in Dite" for whoever can read them, Lydgate seeks to go beyond his master.

Chaucer's influence shows in the style of Troy Book as well as in the narrative and thematic elements. The pentameter couplets are modeled on Chaucer's later work in the Canterbury Tales, while the rhyme royal stanzas of the Envoy recall the Parliament of Fowls, Troilus, and works probably composed earlier and then added to the Canterbury Tales. Lydgate's ambition is to write in an elevated style appropriate to his subject matter. This leads to an English verse approximation of what he claims to recognize as the high style of Guido's prose. The most common effect is to distort the natural order of syntax, abandoning the "conversational tone" that characterizes Chaucer's most mature writing. Lydgate seeks instead to emulate Latin models by using devices of accretion, parallelism, and subordination. Constructions such as the ablative absolute, syntactic inversion, and anacoluthon (lack of sequence in a sentence) are common. Pearsall remarks that one of Lydgate's major traits is the use of "unrelated participles instead of finite verbs" (1970, p. 58). Few run-on lines disrupt the patterning of phrases and clauses within Lydgate's couplets. At times, when he reaches for his most complex effects, the syntax can fail altogether; at others, as in the laments and passages expressing his authorial response, he achieves a fluid, more direct elegiac verse.

The designation often given to Lydgate's verse is aureate style or diction. "Aureate," meaning both "golden" and "eloquent," refers generally to the effort to reproduce the elevated effects of Latin in English. Lydgate originated the term and the concept, and it exerted a strong influence on both the Scottish Chaucerians and English Renaissance poets. The style depends essentially on the importation of Latin vocabulary, though the number of words Lydgate introduced into Middle English is now reckoned fewer than once thought. Norton-Smith contends that Lydgate always uses the term with strong metaphoric associations, and he notes that these associations are with rhetorical skill, eloquent language, and inspiration (pp. 192-95). The style produces a poetry based on exuberant elaboration rather than master images or controlling symbols. Scholars would limit most applications of "aureate" to Lydgate's religious poetry and would distinguish his borrowing of Latin vocabulary for purely artistic effect from borrowings of Latin technical and scientific terms. In a broad sense, however, what matters most to Lydgate's style is the combination of Latinate vocabulary with intricate syntactic structures.

Lydgate's meter, like his style, has been the topic of much aesthetic debate. Alain Renoir traces most dismissals of Lydgate's metrical skill to the early nineteenth century, which reversed centuries of opinion that ranked Lydgate with or above Chaucer in prosodic skill as well as rhetorical eloquence. Lydgate's assertion that "moche thing is wrong, / Falsly metrid, bothe of short and long" (5.3483-84) is, as Schirmer observed (p. 71), a modesty formula rather than a description of his actual composition or poetic ambitions. The basic model of prosody in Troy Book is Chaucer's iambic pentameter line, which regularly placed a caesura after the fourth or sixth syllable and permitted the addition of an unaccented syllable at the end of the line. Lydgate also follows Chaucerian practice in sounding final -e as needed for meter, even though the spoken language dropped this feature of the grammatical case system in the second half of the fourteenth century. Josef Schick distinguished five kinds of lines in Lydgate's poetry. Iambic pentameter (Type A) is the most common line. Trochaic feet sometimes appear before the caesura (Type B) and in the first foot (Type E) of a line. More characteristic are a headless line (Type D), with the first syllable missing, and the so-called "Lydgate line" or "broken-backed line," in which the unaccented syllable is missing after the caesura so that two accented syllables stand next to each other (Type C). In the following example, the manuscripts preserve a Lydgate line with stressed syllables on both sides of the caesura: "That his entent || can no man bewreye" (1.224). In Chaucer manuscripts, which are also fifteenth-century witnesses, the Lydgate line is commonly treated as a scribal error rather than an intentional form; most editors emend the line, frequently without notice. The pattern is intentional with Lydgate, however. In general, the metrical features that Chaucer used occasionally and even then with a rhythmic purpose in mind become frequent and systematic. Chaucer's metrical variants are the recurring elements of Lydgate's metrical program.

The present edition of Troy Book offers a selection of Lydgate's text from the vast and encyclopedic narrative that Lydgate composed. Its aim is to present key episodes, while preserving the overall shape of a narrative running to 30,117 lines. Prose summaries recount the material left out between the passages. The Prologue and Epilogue as well as the openings of each book are printed as markers of the poem's formal divisions and stylistic examples that differ significantly from Lydgate's narration. The selections for Book 1 seek to balance the Jason and Medea story with the events that precipitate the war. The passages from Book 2 alternate between narrative elements and set pieces, such as Priam's rebuilding of Troy, Lydgate's apostrophe to Priam on kingship, and the speeches made by Hector and Agamemnon. The episodes chosen from Book 3 sketch the evolving catastrophe of the war: the death of Patroclus, Hector's blunder in not pursuing his tactical advantage in battle, Achilles's plot to murder Hector, the exchange of Thoas for Antenor that prepares for the betrayal of Troy, and the sequence that begins with Andromache's prophetic dream and moves through Hector's death and enshrinement. The last of these is a fascinating reminiscence of the exotic element that Benoît introduced to the medieval Troy story. The episodes taken from Book 4 reflect the final stages of Troy's downfall. Achilles succeeds in killing Troilus, the second Hector, but falls in love with Polyxena and subsequently dies in a murder plot. Though the Amazons give Troy some respite by entering the war, the conspiracy to betray the city succeeds, and after Troy's destruction, Achilles's son Pyrrhus exacts a brutal and unjust vengeance on Polyxena. The selections from Book 5, which recounts the return of the Greek heroes, focus on the story of Ulysses. The resolution reached by his sons, Telemachus and Telegonus, mirrors a larger pattern of peacemaking between Trojans and Greeks that Lydgate sees as an example for the current strife between England and France. Throughout these selections, passages and episodes of particular literary interest have been included, such as Lydgate's remarks on translation (2.134-202) and the many references to Chaucer and to Troilus and Criseyde (2.4677-4762, 2.4861-95, 3.550- 57, 3.4077-4448, 3.4820-4869, and 4.2029-2177). From the text and intervening summaries, the reader can follow the main line of Lydgate's story and examine its major rhetorical and narrative elements.

The text of Troy Book survives in twenty-three manuscripts and fragments. Pynson's first edition seems to have relied on another early manuscript with a good text. Despite the claims to sober editorial judgment made in Braham's prefatory epistle, the 1555 edition printed by Marshe reproduces Pynson's text and emends it freely with no manuscript authority. An extract from Lydgate's reproval of Priam (2.1849-56) appears in one manuscript of the Canterbury Tales (Royal 18.C.ii). In two late manuscripts (Douce 148 and Cambridge Kk.V.30), fragments of a fifteenth-century Scots translation of Guido are inserted. Douce 148 was "mendit" by John Asloan, and both manuscripts descend from the same exemplar that was the ancestor of Arundel 99. A portrait of Lydgate presenting Troy Book to Henry appears in Cotton Augustus A.iv, Digby 232, Rawlinson C.446, Rylands English 1, and Trinity College, MS 0.5.2. The same themes and details of the portrait reappear in a woodcut from Pynson's edition; Pynson also introduces Lydgate's complaint on Hector's death with a portrait of the poet writing at a desk. The earliest manuscripts, it has been suggested, might have been written and illustrated at Bury St. Edmunds for the monastery's great poet, but the London booktrade now seems a more likely source.

As A. S. G. Edwards points out, manuscript study over the past two decades has added much important detail about the material production of Troy Book (1981, pp. 16-19). The illuminations of Rawlinson C.446 have been connected to the atelier of a follower of John Siferwas, a master miniaturist (Spriggs, p. 200 n. 2). Rylands English 1 was illuminated by an artist close stylistically to William Abell, the mid-fifteenth English illuminator who reacted against developments in Netherlandish and Italian Renaissance painting (Alexander, pp. 169-70). Decorations in a fragment of Troy Book attached to the front of a manuscript of the Canterbury Tales (Rawlinson poet. 223) are linked to the "owl" atelier, so called for the trademark used by one artist who decorated the borders of books in a London illuminating shop around 1465; the text was written elsewhere (Scott, 1968, pp. 189-91). Rawlinson C. 446 and Digby 230 were written by the same scribe in the 1420s; the space left for coats of arms to be inserted in illuminated initials indicates they were destined for noble owners (Doyle and Parkes, pp. 201 n. 100, 210 n. 128). There also seems to have been a "Lydgate scribe" active in the mid-fifteenth century who was responsible for the text of Troy Book in Arundel 99 and for other Lydgate poems (Edwards, 1981, pp. 17-19). His presence suggests that a complex publishing organization existed to produce and disseminate Lydgate's work. A. I. Doyle speaks of a "long-standing Lydgate workshop" in East Anglia possibly composed of monks and laymen (p. 7).

The most important textual sources for Troy Book are the four earliest manuscripts: Cotton Augustus A.iv, Bristol MS 8, Digby 232, and Rawlinson C.446. None of them is Lydgate's original, and each was copied independently from the others. Cotton Augustus A.iv is usually thought to be the earliest witness; Bergen dated it 1420-30, the other three 1420-35. Scott suggests revised dates of 1430-40 for Cotton Augustus A.iv, c. 1420-35 for Digby 232, and c. 1420-25 for Rawlinson C.446 (1996, 2:261). The Cotton MS is virtually complete, lacking only six lines of the full text; the other three are missing portions of text that run between two thousand and five thousand lines. Bristol 8, which suffered the greatest loss of text, was mutilated for the miniatures. The large folio layout of the early manuscripts and the extent of decoration indicate that all of them could have been presentation copies, but no one manuscript can be identified as the Troy Book that Lydgate presented to Henry. The evidence of later manuscripts indicates that the poem retained its value as a prestige possession and found an audience among provincial gentry. Rylands English 1, for example, shows up in an inventory of Markeaton Hall, Derbyshire, compiled in 1545.

Cotton Augustus A.iv is the base text chosen for this edition of selections from Troy Book, as it was for Henry Bergen's complete edition of the poem prepared for the Early English Text Society early in this century. Cotton Augustus offers the most complete early text. Written on vellum leaves measuring 26 x 15 inches, the manuscript is composed of 155 folios, gathered in eight-leaf quires. The script is an Anglicana formata, with the characteristic double-lobed a, e, and g. The letter d is looped. Both s and long s are used. The two-shaped r replaces the regular r after the letter o, but the forked r does not appear. Cotton Augustus contains only Troy Book. The text is arranged in double columns of 49 lines, except for the rhyme royal stanzas of the Envoy and the two eight-line stanzas of the final Envoy and Verba translatoris. The first miniature (fol. 1ra) contains the arms of Sir Thomas Chaworth (d. 1458) and his second wife, Isabella de Ailesbury below the portrait of Lydgate and Henry V. A short description of the manuscript appears in the British Museum catalogue compiled by H. L. D. Ward and J. A. Herbert. A more extensive description is contained in Bergen's edition (4:1-4).

The text presented here follows the readings of Cotton Augustus A.iv, except for the emendations recorded in the accompanying Notes. Emendations have been made where sense requires and where metrical changes are needed to avoid clearly defective lines. Final -e has been added as needed for meter, most notably in forms like myght, hert, and gret, which are spelled inconsistently. A MS form like ageyns is emended to ageynes, particularly at the beginning of a line. Obvious spelling errors have been corrected. In accordance with the conventions of the TEAMS series, the letters i/j and u/v have been normalized. Thorn has been transcribed as th, yogh as y or g or gh, and the scribal ampersand as and. Unless spelled ee (e.g., secree 1.2001), the accented final -e is printed é, as in pité. Double consonants at the beginning of a line have been treated as capitals, so, for example, MS fful appears as Ful. Suspension marks and common abbreviations have been silently expanded. Capitalization and word division are editorial. The noun nothing, for example, is distinguished from the adverbial form no thing (not at all, in no way). Punctuation follows modern practice, but there are points where the complications of Lydgate's syntax make any effort to show the structure of subordination among clauses, phrases, and parenthetical expressions only approximate.

Every reader of Troy Book owes a debt to Henry Bergen, and any later editor's debt must be greater still. As the Notes make clear, I have relied frequently on his suggestions for final -e and for additions needed for sense and meter. My editorial practice is somewhat more conservative, however, in retaining substantive readings from the base manuscript. I preserve some wording that Bergen would change and phrasings that he would transpose. MS forms of the past participles avenget (1.4255), conselit (4.6739), defoulit (2.545), flickerit (3.4179), forget (1.3218, 2.2508, 4.6938), and plounget (5.3551) are allowed to stand, as are a number of idiomatic constructions attested in Chaucer and the Middle English Dictionary. In some places I read the MS differently from Bergen and in others follow the MS order where Bergen transposes lines. Bergen proposes a number of metrical emendations at points where I have chosen to let the Lydgate lines stand. My punctuation of the text is somewhat lighter than Bergen's Victorian punctuation; on occasion, the structure of Lydgate's long parallel clauses is broken into shorter sentences as an aid to reading and comprehension.

Go To Troy Book: Prologue
Select Bibliography


Bristol, City Reference Library, MS 8.

Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.5.2.

Cambridge, University Library, MS Kk.5.30.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng 752 (formerly Harvard-Ashburnham MS).

Geneva, Fondation Martin Bodmer, MS Bodmer 110 (formerly Phillipps 3113).
Gloucester, Cathedral Library, MS 5.

London, British Library, MS Arundel 99.

London, British Library, MS Cotton Augustus A.iv.

London, British Library, MS Royal 18.D.ii.

London, British Library, MS Royal

London, Inner Temple Library, MS Petyt 524 (fragment).

Manchester, John Rylands Library, MS English 1.

New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.876 (formerly Helmingham Hall and Tollemache MS).

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 230.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 232.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 148.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson C.446.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson D.913 (fragment).

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson poet. 144.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson poet. 223 (fragment).

Oxford, Christ Church Library, MS 153 (fragment).

Oxford, Exeter College, MS 129.

Oxford, St. John's College, MS 6.


Bergen, Henry, ed. Lydgate's Troy Book. 4 vols. Early English Text Society, e.s. 97, 103, 106, 126. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. and Oxford University Press for the Early English Text Society, 1906-35.

Neilson, W. A., and K. G. T. Webster, eds. The Chief British Poets of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries: Selected Poems. Boston: The Riverside Press / Houghton Mifflin Co., 1916. [Troy Book 2.479-768.]

Norton-Smith, John, ed. John Lydgate: Poems. Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966. [Troy Book 2.479-551, 565-72, 578-631, 638-41, 651-67, 681-92, 695-710.]

Steiner, George, ed. Homer in English. New York: Penguin, 1996. [Troy Book Pro. 145-75, 2.7852-75, 3.5423-74, 4.7058-7108.]

Other Sources

Benoît de Sainte-Maure. Roman de Troie. Ed. Leopold Constans. Société des anciens textes français. 6 vols. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1904-12.

---. Chaucer's Boccaccio: Sources of "Troilus" and the "Knight's" and "Franklin's Tales." Trans. N. R. Havely. Chaucer Studies 3. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1980. Pp. 167-80, 213-14. [Excerpts from Le Roman de Troie.]

Brie, Friedrich. "Zwei mittelenglische Prosaromane: The Sege of Thebes und The Sege of Troy." Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 130 (1913), 40-52, 269-85.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Riverside Chaucer. Gen. ed. Larry D. Benson. Third ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.

Colonne, Guido delle. Historia destructionis Troiae. Ed. Nathaniel Griffin. Medieval Academy of America Publications 26. Cambridge, Mass.: Medieval Academy of America, 1936.

---. The History of the Destruction of Troy. Trans. Mary Elizabeth Meek. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974.

Dares Phyrygius. De excidio Troiae historia. Ed. Ferdinand Meister. Leipzig: Teubner, 1873, 1991.

Dictys Cretensis. Ephemeridos belli Troiani. Ed. Werner Eisenhut. Leipzig: Teubner, 1973.

Frazer, Richard M., Jr., trans. The Trojan War: The Chronicles of Dictys of Crete and Dares the Phyrigian. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966.

The "Gest Hystoriale" of the Destruction of Troy. Ed. G. A. Panton and D. Donaldson. Early English Text Society, o.s. 39 and 56. London: John Childs and Son, 1869 and 1874; rpt. in one vol. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Joseph of Exeter. The Iliad of Dares Phrygius. Trans. Gildas O. Roberts. Ph.D. Diss. The Ohio State University, 1966. Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1970.

---. Frigii Daretis Ylias: De bello Troiano. In Werke und Briefe von Joseph Iscanus. Ed. Ludwig Gompf. Leiden: Brill, 1970.

The Laud Troy Book. Ed. J. E. Wülfing. Early English Text Society, o.s. 121 and 122. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1902-03.

Bibliographical Sources

Edwards, A. S. G. "Additions and Corrections to the Bibliography of John Lydgate." Notes and Queries ns 32 [230] (1985), 450-52.

---. "A Lydgate Bibliography, 1926-68." Bulletin of Bibliography and Magazine Notes 27.4 (1970), 95-98.

---. "Lydgate Scholarship: Progress and Prospects." In Fifteenth-Century Studies: Recent Essays. Ed. Robert F. Yeager. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1984. Pp. 29-47.

Lee, Sidney. "Lydgate." In Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-22. Pp. 306-16.

Reimer, Stephen R. "The Lydgate Canon: A Project Description." Literary and Linguistic Computing 5 (1990), 248-49.

Renoir, Alain, and C. David Benson. "John Lydgate." In A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500. Ed. J. Burke Severs and rev. Albert E. Hartung. 9 vols. New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1967-. 6: 1809-1920, 2071-2175.

Rice, Joanne A. Middle English Romance: An Annotated Bibliography, 1955-1985. New York: Garland, 1987. Pp. 153-60, 533-36.

Ward, H. L. D., and J. A. Herbert. Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum. 3 vols. London: British Museum, 1883-1910.

Selected Criticism and Scholarship

Alexander, Jonathan. "William Abell 'lymnour' and 15th Century English Illumination." In Kunsthistorische Forschungen Otto Pächt zu seinem 70. Geburtstag. Ed. Artur Rosenauer and Gerold Weber. Salzburg: Residenz Verlag, 1972. Pp. 166-72.

Ambrisco, Alan S., and Paul Strohm. "Succession and Sovereignty in Lydgate's Prologue to Troy Book." Chaucer Review 30 (1995-96), 40-57.

Atwood, E. Bagby. "Some Minor Sources of Lydgate's Troy Book." Studies in Philology 35 (1938), 25-42.

Ayers, Robert W. "Medieval History, Moral Purpose and the Structure of Lydgate's Siege of Thebes." PMLA 73 (1958), 463-74.

Benson, C. David. "The Ancient World in John Lydgate's Troy Book." American Benedictine Review 24 (1973), 299-312.

---. "Chaucer's Influence on the Prose Sege of Troy." Notes and Queries ns 18 [216] (1971), 127-30.

---. "Critic and Poet: What Lydgate and Henryson Did to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." Modern Language Quarterly 53 (1992), 23-40.

---. The History of Troy in Middle English Literature: Guido delle Colonne's "Historia Destructionis Troiae" in Medieval England. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer; Totowa, N. J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980.

---. "Prudence, Othea, and Lydgate's Death of Hector." American Benedictine Review 26 (1975), 115-23.

Boffey, Julia. "The Reputation and Circulation of Chaucer's Lyrics in the Fifteenth Century." Chaucer Review 28 (1993), 23-40.

Bornstein, Dean. "Chivalric Idealism in Lydgate's Troy Book." The Lydgate Newsletter 1 (1972), 8-13.

Buuren-Veenenbos, Catherine C. van. "Notes and News: John Asloan, an Edinburgh Scribe." English Studies 47 (1966), 365-72.

Doyle, A. I. "Book Production by the Monastic Orders in England (c. 1375-1530): Assessing the Evidence." In Medieval Book Production: Assessing the Evidence. Ed. Linda L. Brownrigg. Los Altos Hills, Calif.: Anderson-Lovelace / The Red Gull Press, 1990. Pp. 1-19.

--- and M. B. Parkes. "The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century." In Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries: Essays Presented to N. R. Ker. Ed. M. B. Parkes and Andrew G. Watson. London: Scolar Press, 1978. Pp. 163-210.

Dwyer, R. A. "Some Readers of John Trevisa." Notes and Queries ns 14 [212] (1965), 291-92.

Ebin, Lois. "Chaucer, Lydgate, and the 'Myrie Tale.' " Chaucer Review 13 (1978-79), 316-36.

---. John Lydgate. Twayne English Authors Series 407. Boston: Twayne, 1985.

Edwards, A. S. G. "Lydgate Manuscripts: Some Directions for Future Research." In Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England: The Literary Implications of Manuscript Study. Ed. Derek Pearsall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1981. Pp. 15-26.

---. "Lydgate's Attitudes to Women." English Studies 51 (1970), 436.

---. "An Unidentified Extract from Lydgate's Troy Book." Notes and Queries ns 36 [234] (1989), 307-08.

--- and Carol M. Meale. "The Marketing of Printed Books in Late Medieval England." The Library, sixth series, 15 (1993), 95-124.

Finlayson, John. "Guido de Columnis' Historia destructionis Troiae, the 'Gest Hystorial' of the Destruction of Troy, and Lydgate's Troy Book: Translation and the Design of History." Anglia 113 (1995), 141-62.

Fisher, John H. The Importance of Chaucer. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992.

---. "A Language Policy for Lancastrian England." PMLA 107 (1992), 1168-80.

Griffin, Nathaniel. See Colonne, Guido delle, above.

Horstmann, Carl, ed. Barbour's des schotttischen Nationaldichters Legendensammlung nebst den Fragmenten seines Trojanerkrieges zum ersten Mal herausgegeben und kritisch Bearbeitet. 2 vols. Heilbronn: Gebr. Henninger, 1881-82.

Kempe, Dorothy. "A Middle English Tale of Troy." Englische Studien 29 (1901), 1-26.

Krochalis, Jeanne E. "The Books and Reading of Henry V and His Circle." Chaucer Review 23 (1988-89), 50-77.

Lawton, Lesley. "The Illustration of Late Medieval Secular Texts, with Special Reference to Lydgate's 'Troy Book.' " In Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England: The Literary Implications of Manuscript Study. Ed. Derek Pearsall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1981. Pp. 41-69.

Marquardt, W. F. "A Source for the Passage on the Origin of Chess in Lydgate's Troy Book." Modern Language Notes 64 (1949), 87-88.

McIntosh, Angus. "Some Notes on the Language and Textual Transmission of the Scottish Troy Book." Archivum Linguisticum 10 (1979), 1-19.

Meek, Mary Elizabeth. See Colonne, Guido delle, above.

Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "The Reputation of Criseyde, 1155-1500." Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 43 (1971), 71-153.

Patterson, Lee. "Making Identities in Fifteenth-Century England: Henry V and John Lydgate." In New Historical Literary Study: Essays on Reproducing Texts, Representing History. Ed. Jeffrey N. Cox and Larry J. Reynolds. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Pp. 69-107.

Payne, Robert O. "Late Medieval Images and Self-Images of the Poet: Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, Henryson, Dunbar." In Vernacular Poetics in the Middle Ages. Ed. Lois Ebin. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute Publications, 1984. Pp. 249-61.

Pearsall, Derek. "Chaucer and Lydgate." In Chaucer Traditions: Studies in Honour of Derek Brewer. Ed. Ruth Morse and Barry Windeatt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. 39-53.

---. "Hoccleve's Regement of Princes: The Poetics of Royal Self-Representation." Speculum 69 (1994), 386-410.

---. John Lydgate. Medieval Authors: Poets of the Later Middle Ages. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1970.

---. "Notes on the Manuscript of Generydes." The Library, fifth series, 16 (1961), 205-10.

Renoir, Alain. "Attitudes Toward Women in Lydgate's Poetry." English Studies 42 (1961), 1-14.

---. The Poetry of John Lydgate. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967.

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