“Be waar, Hoccleue, I rede thee”: Intertextual Subjectivity in Thomas Hoccleve’s Petitioning Poetry

“Be waar, Hoccleue, I rede thee”: Intertextual Subjectivity in Thomas Hoccleve’s Petitioning Poetry

Lang, Elon (Washington University in St. Louis)

Interstitial Readings: Selected Proceedings of the Newberry Library’s Center for Renaissance Studies’ 25th Annual Graduate Student Conference,  June 8 (2007) – Chicago, IL 


Thomas Hoccleve was a bureaucratic scribe at Westminster from the end of Richard II’s reign through the very beginning of Henry VI’s. Among the poetry he wrote on the side, which began to appear in the first 25 years after Chaucer’s death, his most substantial works include three narratives written to petition benefactors for supplemental income. The most widely circulated of these is the Regiment of Princes, which humbly offers advice on good governance to the prince who would become Henry V. The other two, which I will be focusing on in this paper, represent some of his earliest and latest work, respectively: the reflexively titled La Male Regle de T. Hoccleve and a collection of translations set in a narrative frame that modern editors have simply named the Series. What particularly interests me about these poems are their narrative-voices and how these voices are constructed from first-person pronouns that, because of their postures of solicitation, have unstable antecedents.


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