Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4549
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  • Title: Hoccleve, the Virgin, and the Politics of Complaint
  • Source: PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 117, 5 (October 2002): Pages 1172 - 1187.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Complaint in Literature Devotional Literature Hoccleve, Thomas, Poet- Complaint of the Virgin Literature- Verse Mary, Virgin, Saint in Literature Self in Literature Translation Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: What is the relation between Marian lament and the distinctively modern, autobiographical complaints of Thomas Hoccleve? What, moreover, is the relation between Hoccleve’s performances of private misery and his ability to offer advice and counsel to princes? This article argues that Hoccleve’s “Complaint of the Virgin” can teach us to recognize the complex interweaving of gender, genre, ideality, and excess that informs Hocclevean complaints more generally. “The Complaint of the Virgin” explores a woman’s exemplary transition from subversive investment in private connection and private suffering to self-abnegation and participation in public power. In doing so, the poem provides a model for Hoccleve’s own movements between marginalized interiority and public rhetoric—and for his meditation between Lancastrian subjects and their sovereign. The Virgin offers a lesson in the pleasures and power of complaint, the disciplining of interiority, and the production of social relations through spectacle and sacrifice.
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  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00308129
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