Chaucerian Roots: Lydgate’s Danse Macabre and English Nationalism

Austin Burr


John Lydgate lived from 1371-1449 and was then one of the most prolific poets in the English language, much of his work having been heavily influenced by Geoffrey Chaucer. While it has been noted by critics such as David Carlson that nearly all of Lydgate's works after 1422 contain some reference to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales specifically, it is particularly interesting to consider why this may have been the case. This essay explores Chaucer's how influence as one of the first well-known authors in the English language led Lydgate to emulate him at the height of the Hundred Years' War, particularly in his poem Danse Macabre.


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