The Bureaucratic Muse: Thomas Hoccleve and the Literature of by Ethan Knapp

By Ethan Knapp

Lengthy overlooked as a marginal and whimsical determine, Thomas Hoccleve (1367-1426) wrote one of the most refined and demanding poetry of the past due center a while. jam-packed with gossip and autobiographical element, his paintings has made him immensely beneficial to fashionable students, but Hoccleve the poet has remained decidedly within the shadow of Geoffrey Chaucer.

In The Bureaucratic Muse, Ethan Knapp investigates the connections among Hoccleve's poetic corpus and his lifestyles as a clerk of the Privy Seal. The early 15th century used to be a watershed second within the histories of either centralized forms and English vernacular literature. those have been the many years during which Chaucer's experiments in a courtly English poetry have been rendered right into a good culture and during which the primary writing places of work at Westminster emerged from own govt into the full-blown modernity of self sufficient civil carrier. Knapp exhibits the significance of Hoccleve's poetry as a website the place those histories come jointly. via following the transferring courting among the texts of vernacular poetry and people of bureaucratic records, Knapp argues that the roots of vernacular fiction achieve again into the impersonal documentary conduct of a bureaucratic classification.

The Bureaucratic Muse, the 1st full-length examine of Hoccleve considering the fact that 1968, offers an authoritative ancient and textual therapy of this significant yet underappreciated author. Chapters concentrate on Hoccleve's significance in consolidating key innovations of the literary box reminiscent of autobiography, spiritual heterodoxy, gendered identification, and post-Chaucer textuality. This booklet can be of curiosity to students of center English literature, autobiography, gender reviews, and the heritage of literary associations.

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Extra resources for The Bureaucratic Muse: Thomas Hoccleve and the Literature of Late Medieval England

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Brown, ‘‘The Privy Seal Clerks in the Early Fifteenth Century,’’ in The Study of Medieval Records: Essays in Honour of Kathleen Major, ed. D. A. Bullough and R. L. Storey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 260–81; A. Compton Reeves, ‘‘The World of Thomas Hoccleve,’’ Fifteenth Century Studies 2 (1979): 187–99; Malcolm Richardson, ‘‘Hoccleve in His Social Context,’’ Chaucer Review 20 (1986): 313–22; and Tout, ‘‘The English Civil Service in the Fourteenth Century,’’ 191–221. 7 This chapter brings these areas of research together through a consideration of the influence of bureaucratic identity on Hoccleve’s literary production.

43. As examples of documents enrolled for their historical importance, see letter 1096, which contains a 1376 petition of the clergy to deal with heretics, and letter 1103, which gives a lengthy and detailed list of reasons for war in France. Bentley, ‘‘Formulary,’’ 1093, 1115. 44. This is clearly the intent of a whole section of the manuscript (letters 863–1085), entitled ‘‘Exordies and Extraits,’’ which is written entirely in Latin and consists only of fragments, either clauses and brief passages marked by rhetorical flourish or brief proverbial sentences.

Marian Trudgill and J. A. Burrow have discovered a balade in the Canterbury Cathedral Library that represents a version of ‘‘La Male Regle’’ shorn of its particular references to Hoccleve and rewritten as a general treatment of youth and moderation. See their ‘‘Hoccleve Balade,’’ Notes and Queries 45 (1998): 178–80. 56. A. C. ’’ A. C. Spearing, Medieval to Renaissance in English Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 110–20. 57. Eva M. Thornley, ‘‘The Middle English Penitential Lyric and Hoccleve’s Autobiographical Poetry,’’ Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 68 (1967): 295–321.

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