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Alexander Barclay, The Life of St. George


This paper examines The Life of St. George, Alexander Barclay’s 1515 translation of a humanist Latin prose poem. Barclay, who styled himself a laureate in the tradition of Lydgate, adapts laureate poetic practice in order to address a noble audience in a bid to gain court patronage. Barclay’s emendations and additions transform the hagiography of England’s patron saint into a commentary on traditional English ideals of citizenship and good governance, aimed at an audience comprised of both common citizens and noble elites, including, as this paper argues, the young king Henry VIII.