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Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England$
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Helen Barr

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112426.001.0001

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Constructing Social Realities: Wynnere and Wastoure, Hoccleve, and Chaucer

Constructing Social Realities: Wynnere and Wastoure, Hoccleve, and Chaucer

(p.10) Chapter One Constructing Social Realities: Wynnere and Wastoure, Hoccleve, and Chaucer
Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how a variety of texts deploy the language of social description in ways which either acknowledge changes in social demography, or conveniently ignore them for polemically political purposes. It shows how the social poetics of the alliterative poem Wynnere and Wastoure articulates contemporary demographic shifts in the categorization of people, occupation, and rank. It evaluates literary texts which explicitly concern themselves with social issues, resulting in the production of critical histories attentive to their social significance, even if the formal literary features of those texts have not always been studied as an integral part of their social resonances. By examining their literary works, this chapter also describes Hoccleve and Chaucer as writers.

Keywords:   social realities, Wynnere and Wastoure, Hoccleve, Chaucer, social description, social demography, social practice, poetry

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