flyting

flyting
flyting [flīt′iŋ]
n.
< flyte, flite, to contend, strive < OE flītan; akin to MHG vlīzen, to quarrel, Ger fleiss, diligence
a formalized exchange of taunts, insults, etc., as between warriors in Old English epics

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▪ Scottish verbal contest
      (Scots: “quarreling,” or “contention”), poetic competition of the Scottish makaris (poets) of the 15th and 16th centuries, in which two highly skilled rivals engaged in a contest of verbal abuse, remarkable for its fierceness and extravagance. Although contestants attacked each other spiritedly, they actually had a professional respect for their rival's vocabulary of invective. The tradition seems to have derived from the Gaelic filid (fili) (class of professional poets), who composed savage tirades against persons who slighted them. A Scandinavian counterpart is the Lokasenna (“Flyting of Loki”), a poem in the Poetic (Elder) Edda in which the trickster-god Loki bandies words with the other gods, taunting them with coarse jests. Although true flyting became obsolete in Scottish literature after the Middle Ages, the tradition itself never died out among writers of Celtic background. The style and language of Robert Burns's (Burns, Robert) “To a Louse” (“Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner / Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner”) parodies earlier Scots flyting, and James Joyce's poem “The Holy Office” is a bard's curse on the society that spurns him.

      Examples of true flyting are The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie (the poets William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy) and Flyting betwixt Montgomerie and Polwart (the poets Alexander Montgomerie and Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth).

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flyting — is a contest of insults, often conducted in verse. The word has been adopted by social historians from Scots usage of the fifteenth and sixteenth century in which makars ( makaris ) would engage in public verbal contests of high flying,… …   Wikipedia

  • flyting — [flīt′iŋ] n. [< flyte, flite, to contend, strive < OE flītan; akin to MHG vlīzen, to quarrel, Ger fleiss, diligence] a formalized exchange of taunts, insults, etc., as between warriors in Old English epics …   English World dictionary

  • flyting —    From the obscure word flite, meaning to quarrel or dispute, the term flyting is most properly applied to a genre of Scottish poetry that seems to have originated in the late 15th or early 16th century, in which two poets exchanged vigorous,… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • flyting — I. variant of fliting II. ˈflīd.iŋ noun ( s) Etymology: flyting (I) : a dispute or exchange of personal abuse or ridicule especially in verse form between two characters in a poem (as an early epic) or between two poets (as of 16th century… …   Useful english dictionary

  • flyting — noun Etymology: Scots, literally, contention, gerund of flyte to contend, argue, from Middle English fliten, from Old English flītan; akin to Old High German flīzan to argue Date: 1508 a dispute or exchange of personal abuse in verse form …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • flyting — noun a) Contention, noisy argument. b) Scolding, rebuke …   Wiktionary

  • flyting — flyt·ing …   English syllables

  • The Flyting of Dumbar and Kennedie — Schir Johine the Ros, ane thing thair is compild , also known as The Flyting of Dumbar and Kennedie , is the earliest surviving example [Kinsley, James ed. William Dunbar, Poems OUP 1958, p.128] of the Scottish version of the flyting genre in… …   Wikipedia

  • William Dunbar — This article is about the Scottish poet, for other people of this name see William Dunbar (disambiguation). William Dunbar (c. 1460 ndash; c. 1520), Scottish poet, was probably a native of East Lothian. This is assumed from a satirical reference… …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Kennedy — (c.1455 1518?) was a Scottish makar associated with the renaissance court of James IV. He is perhaps best known as the defendant against William Dunbar in The Flyting of Dumbar and Kennedie , part of a poetic tournament which involved the public… …   Wikipedia

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