Chapter

Constructing Social Realities: <i>Wynnere and Wastoure</i>, Hoccleve, and Chaucer

HELEN BARR

in Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780198112426
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191707865 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112426.003.0002
Constructing Social Realities: Wynnere and Wastoure, Hoccleve, and Chaucer

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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

Chapter.  13876 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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