Dan Holman's MRP Presentation: "John Barbour’s The Bruce during the Reign of Robert II: An Exemplum for Freedom and Loyalty"
Date and Time
MacKinnon Ext., Rm. 2020
This study examines the relationship between John Barbour’s epic poem The Bruce (1375-1384?) and the political challenges which faced the higher Scottish nobility during the reign of Robert II (r.1371-1390). Commissioned by Robert II, The Bruce glorifies the efforts of Robert II’s grandfather King Robert I (Robert Bruce, r.1306-1329) and his allies during the successful struggle against England in the First Scottish War of Independence (1296-1328). Barbour’s portrayal of this period includes the author’s commentary as well as many distortions of the actual events of Scotland’s First War of Independence. It is the contention of this research that these literary phenomena are intended to fashion an image of the independence movement which would serve as a guide to the Scottish nobility of the later fourteenth century who faced somewhat similar trials against their English foes. In fashioning his poem, Barbour deliberately distorted the past and presented an image of Scotland in the early fourteenth century which seems directly analogous to Scotland’s persons/events from the more recent past. In doing so, Barbour presented a version of history which would primarily serve the domestic and geo-political interests of his patron, Robert II.
Advisor: James E. Fraser
Committee: Elizabeth Ewan