Malcolm, Margaret, Macbeth and the Miller: Rhetoric and the Re-shaping of History in Wyntoun's Original Chronicle

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Abstract

This paper examines the nature of, and motivations for, some radical divergences from standard historical sources combined with high levels of rhetorical manipulation in a crucial section of the early fifteenth-century Older Scots Original Chronicle of Andrew of Wyntoun. His Chronicle was originally designed to culminate in a book dedicated to the great Canmore dynasty, founded by Malcolm III and St. Margaret of England and tragically concluded by the death of Alexander III in 1286. The section in question weaves together the stories of Margaret, Malcolm III "Canmore," and his now-infamous predecessor Macbeth. It demonstrates how Wyntoun arranges for his history to conform to the popular-if incorrect-perception that Malcolm and Margaret were new dynastic founders, and argues for the relevance to a late-medieval Scottish audience of some of Wyntoun's most surprising innovations, including the unhistorical designation of both Malcolm III and Macbeth's births as illegitimate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
JournalMedievalia et Humanistica
VolumeNew Series, 41
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

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