Ri3e cunde: nature and preferment in The owl and the nightingale

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Title: Ri3e cunde: nature and preferment in The owl and the nightingale
Author: Simmons, Lola Janell
Abstract: Interpretations of The Owl and the Nightingale have generally fallen into two categories : those which read it as an allegory of either political , religious or intellectual issues , and those which read it as a burlesque of some aspect of human nature . The nearest consensus among recent analyses seems to be that the poem is a satire involving debate and birdlore motifs ; that , unlike other debate poems , allegorical interpretations are difficult to substantiate because the poem makes no extended allusions to contemporary issues ; and that the most likely purpose of the poem is an appeal for the preferment of Nicolas of Guildford . Critical argument over theme , however , has been nearly as vitriolic as the debate between the two birds , partly because of the poem's apparent lack of thematic unity . Hume , who has provided a convenient review of previous interpretations and of weaknesses associated with each , summarizes the problem caused by this lack of unity : "No one , in fact , has been able to extract from the birds' squabbles a single issue which would give the poem a plausible raison d'etre . This state of affairs exists because there is no meaningful subject ; the birds' debate is pointless" (127 ) .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /14405
Date: 1986-08

Citation

Ri3e cunde: nature and preferment in The owl and the nightingale. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /14405 .

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