Thomas Hoccleve (1368–426) was one of Chaucer’s first disciples and is represented in this book by a selection of his works, newly edited from his own copies and fully annotated. It provides students and other readers new to his work with a very fair indication of his range and achievement as original writer and translator and includes a full Introduction and marginal glosses. It also offers those more familiar with his work a fuller account than has hitherto been available of the manuscripts both of Hoccleve’s own texts and, when he was translating from Latin or French, of his sources. Some of the themes and topics explored, with Hoccleve's light and witty touch, include women (for them or against them); money (always short of it, and as likely as not to be paid in counterfeit coin); isolation and suffering (causes various, but always painful); the pains of hell and the joys of heaven; the serendipitous nature of literary production; the writer as translator, reporter, or even as gossip.
The wealth of detail noticed and reported on by Ellis is absolutely staggering ... It is a serious work, offered by a committed textual scholar who has investigated all the complex issues of authority and transmission ... It allows us to bring into the classroom data about the complex and unique history of textual transformation for Hoccleve's works, a real “behind the scenes” look at medieval authorship and composition ... One thing is certain, the reader will know Hoccleve well as poet, translator and scribe after reading this edition cover to cover, all the way through, as Hoccleve long ago exhorted us to do. Ellis's edition, bursting at the seams with historical, textual and critical detail, a feast of both matter and art, will doubtlessly be a major factor in the renaissance of Hoccleve studies.
The Medieval Review
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