Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation explores the relationship between a literary work and its printed edition in the production of reputation--the editor as gatekeeper of the reputation of a “minor” poet. That relationship is demonstrated through a case study on the effects of the nineteenth-century edition of the works of the fifteenth-century poet Thomas Hoccleve and an analysis of the lingering effects of the Foucauldian “editor-function.” The number of surviving manuscripts indicates that Hoccleve’s work was well-regarded during the early fifteenth century, but his reputation fell with that of other non-Chaucerian medieval poets as later critics lost linguistic familiarity with Middle English. The Victorian-era work of the Early English Text Society was intended to reclaim the positive reception for medieval works; however, the EETS offerings achieved just the opposite result for Hoccleve’s poetry and perpetuated the negative reputation the poet had acquired. Frederick J. Furnivall’s EETS “standard” Hoccleve editions, still in print, are largely unfavorable in the crucial prefatory matter, even though it is rife with transparent Victorian prejudices. Furnivall’s text itself is haphazardly irregular, frequently producing--not reproducing--the same flaws the forewords criticize. As these blemished editions have remained the standard for over a century, Furnivall’s editorial irresponsibility undoubtedly slowed the critical re-evaluation of Hoccleve, which began at the end of the twentieth century.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Malcolm Richardson