Clerks and Courtiers

Chaucer, Late Middle English Literature and the State Formation Process

1. Edition, 2001
410 Pages

ISBN: 978-3-8253-1234-3
Product: Book
Edition: Softcover
Subject: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Series: Anglistische Forschungen, Volume No.: 302
Available: 04.10.2001

Keywords: Mittelenglisch, Chaucer, Geoffrey, höfische Literatur, Literaturgeschichte, Großbritannien

This study suggests that Chaucer's poetic consciousness was shaped largely by the state formation process and the concomitant transformation of the aristocracy and rise of a class of educated state functionaries, the 'clerks'. Belonging neither to the 'clerks' nor to the courtly aristocracy proper, Chaucer sought to create a realm of pure poetry, a realm that his 'clerky' fellow-poets Gower, Usk, Scogan and Hoccleve were determined to erase even as they celebrated Chaucer as England's principal poet. The struggle between Chaucer and the clerks attempting to appropriate him unfolds not only in contemporary literature but also in the pictorial images of the poet circulating after his death.

David N. DeVries in: The Medieval Review, 05.01.24, URL:

K. Smyth in: Modern Language Review, Vol 99, No. 2 (2004), 458f

Emily Steiner in: Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Jan. 2004, 134ff