Upcoming Hoccleve at Home sessions

Our next “Hoccleve at Home” event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, at 2pm Eastern / 7pm UK and Ireland time, when David Watt (University of Manitoba) will present “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Psalm is About You: Awkwardness in Thomas Hoccleve’s Series.” If you would like to join us, please email us at hocclevesociety@gmail.com to receive a meeting link. We will add you to a dedicated mailing list for future announcements and seminar materials.

Looking forward, mark your calendars for Monday, October 5, when Nicholas Myklebust (Regis University) will present “Hoccleve’s Metrical Game, or The Discreet Charm of the Bureaucrat.”

If you’re interested in presenting, we continue to invite brief proposals (~500 words) for topics on Hoccleve and any aspect of his works. In the proposal, please provide an overview of your topic and a description of your planned format of presentation. As a general guideline, we suggest having a presentation of about 15 to 20 minutes in length to allow for a stronger focus and ample discussion. Seminars meet for about an hour. Please send proposals to hocclevesociety@gmail.com with “Hoccleve at Home” in the subject line.

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CFP: IMC Leeds 2021, Hoccleve and “Climates”

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 2021

Special Thematic Strand: Climates

International Hoccleve Society Sponsored Session


‘What world is this, how vndirstande am I?’

(Thomas Hoccleve, Dialogue with a Friend, 774)

Climates of reception hostile and propitious are a recurrent feature in the poetry of Thomas Hoccleve. His dialogues with imagined interlocutors, envoys addressed to real and imagined readers, and presentation of his poems in autograph manuscripts provide tantalising evidence of the historical and material circumstances for Hoccleve’s reception, as well the currents of patronage and socio-literary systems which he was interested to evoke. The history of Hoccleve criticism, especially the remarkable increase in critical interest over the last few decades, is all the more indicative of shifting climates of reception for Hoccleve’s multifaceted career; how Hoccleve was and is understood is now a lively and wide-ranging scholarly conversation.

The International Hoccleve Society (IHS) is pleased to invite proposals for a sponsored session at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 2021. The special thematic focus of the Congress is ‘Climates’, and the IHS is particularly interested in papers addressing ‘climates’ of reception in Hoccleve’s writings, their witnesses, and his critical heritage. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Narratives of reception in Hoccleve’s writings
  • Hoccleve’s readers, real and imagined
  • Reviewing Hoccleve’s milieu in light of recent biographical discoveries
  • Hoccleve’s political and/or ecclesiological investments
  • Situating Hoccleve in manuscript and early print
  • Antiquarian interest in Hoccleve
  • Recent trends in Hoccleve criticism

To propose a paper, please send an abstract of maximum 250 words with your name and affiliation to laurie.r.atkinson@durham.ac.uk by 31 August 2020.

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New tools for teaching Hoccleve

The International Hoccleve Society has begun to assemble a library of pedagogical essays and open-access teaching materials to help teachers and students bring Hoccleve’s poetry into the classroom.

Our first contribution comes from Dr. Brendan O’Connell, Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin. Dr. O’Connell reflects on the successes and challenges of teaching “My Complaint” in spring 2020:

The closure of my university (Trinity College Dublin) due to the Coronavirus pandemic presented a different set of challenges: how to teach the ‘Complaint’ remotely, when neither I nor my students had access to the usual resources. While my experience of online teaching during the closure has been challenging, teaching this text was extremely positive and will shape the way I teach it in the future.

Read on here. And if you have materials to contribute, please reach out!

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Hoccleve at Home: Come for the Complaint, Stay for the Dialogue

A Series Presented by the International Hoccleve Society

The risks posed by the global pandemic has put academic conferences on hold for the time being and limited opportunities to develop and refine scholarship. To maintain collegial connections among our global community and to provide an interim venue for presenting works in progress and receiving feedback, the International Hoccleve Society is launching a series of informal online seminars, to be held on a regular basis. If you would like to join us, please send an email to hocclevesociety@gmail.com. We will add you to a dedicated mailing list for future announcements, seminar materials, and video links.

To help kick off our series, we will hold a seminar on Hoccleve’s neologisms, presented by Dr. Jenni Nuttall (Oxford) on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at the following time:

11am – North America, Pacific

12pm – North America, Mountain

1pm – North America, Central

2pm – North America, Eastern

7pm – U.K. and Ireland

8pm – Central European

Looking ahead, we invite brief proposals (~500 words) for topics on Hoccleve and any aspect of his works—late medieval literature and culture, disability studies, manuscript studies, translation, gender theory, affect, religion, and so forth. Please provide an overview of your topic and a description of your planned format of presentation (e.g., giving a paper, pre-circulating materials for guided discussion, etc.). We aim to keep the format flexible in order to suit a variety of presentations and stages of work. As a general guideline, we suggest having a presentation of about 15 to 20 minutes in length to allow for a stronger focus and ample discussion, and we expect seminars to meet for about an hour.

Please send proposals to hocclevesociety@gmail.com with “Hoccleve at Home” in the subject line. Although acceptance is not guaranteed, we will make efforts to accommodate proposals from around the world and work out suitable dates and times, depending on scheduling and time zone constraints. We would especially welcome proposals from graduate students, independent scholars, and untenured or non-tenure-track faculty.

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More Hoccleve translations from Jenni Nuttall

Jenni Nuttall has made two more translations available for students, teachers, and all other lovers of Hoccleve:

Other translations and resources can be consulted on the Texts page. We invite further contributions!

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New translations and resources

The International Hoccleve Society is pleased to announce a growing library of Modern English translations of Hoccleve’s poetry, including Dr. Jenni Nuttall’s translation of Hoccleve’s “Complaint” and Emily Price’s translation of Hoccleve’s Ballades to Henry Somer.

Other translations and resources for students and teachers are compiled on the Texts page of this website. The IHS welcomes further contributions!

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Recovering Hoccleve: A Series on Teaching Hoccleve

On Hoccleve Recovery Day, the International Hoccleve Society invites scholars and teachers of medieval literature to contribute to a new, ongoing series about teaching the works of Thomas Hoccleve. How have you incorporated Hoccleve’s works into the syllabi of your medieval literature classes, survey courses, or other teaching endeavors? How do you teach themes of mental illness, disability, and recovery? What are ways to make Hoccleve’s late medieval bureaucratic culture intelligible to today’s students? What activities and exercises do you use to help students engage with Hoccleve’s texts?

As part of the society’s on-going efforts to promote the use and study of Hoccleve’s works, we seek contributions that describe and offer critical commentary on short exercises, assignments, long-term projects, and other pedagogical activities. These can pertain to The Series, Regiment of Princes, short poems, or any other aspect of Hoccleve’s life and works. We welcome all pedagogical approaches and theoretical methodologies. Through regular features on our website and social media accounts, we seek to build a platform for pedagogical discussion and exchange.

We welcome submissions of any length to be sent to Elon Lang at elon.lang@gmail.com with CC to Ruen-chuan Ma at rma@uvu.edu, in docx or PDF format. Please include in your submission a 200-500 word description of how you implement the exercise or use the materials in your lessons. Publication of these exercises will be accepted on a rolling basis and released at intervals after review by the Hoccleve Society organizing committee and follow-up communication with the author.

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Call for Papers: “Rediscovering Hoccleve” at Kalamazoo 2020

The International Hoccleve Society is pleased to invite abstracts for a sponsored session at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 7-10, 2020) at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI:

Rediscovering Hoccleve

This session proposes to explore Hocclevean discovery, broadly construed: what it means to discover and re-discover Thomas Hoccleve and his works—in all their anxieties, politics, ethics, and self-representations. Recent scholarship has seen a fruitful upsurge in approaches to Hoccleve’s work, from such theoretical lenses as disability studies and affect theory to book-length studies from David Watt and Sebastian Langdell interrogating, respectively, the poetic processes and ecclesiological investments that shape Hoccleve’s writing. New discoveries about Hoccleve’s life and literary output continue to emerge from archival research, allowing us to revisit how we read Hoccleve’s work through an autobiographical lens, specifically the intersection of the historical scribe and bureaucrat with the narrating persona that we meet in his poetry.

We therefore invite papers that take up new directions for Hoccleve studies, re-visit Hoccleve’s poetics in light of new discoveries about the poet and his fifteenth-century environment, or witness Hoccleve articulating discoveries of his own. What can emergent ideas from theoretical sites such as new and feminist materialisms or surface reading allow us to discover in Hoccleve? How might theories not often applied to Hoccleve, such as ecocriticism or postcolonial theory, engender new readings of this poetry? How does Hoccleve’s poetry itself engage with discovery and newness; how does Hoccleve make and manage his own discoveries in the literary and historical archive that situates him? And finally, how do readers and critics discover Hoccleve? How has he been read by succeeding generations leading up the present and rediscovered by scholars who have worked to rehabilitate him; how do we, in our own fraught political and ideological context, discover Hoccleve anew?

Paper proposals or questions about the session may be directed to Arwen Taylor at hocclevesociety@gmail.com. Proposals are due by September 15, 2019; please send a completed Participant Information Form along with your submission.

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Call for Papers: Thomas Hoccleve and his “Maistir Gower,” 2020

The International Hoccleve Society is pleased to be sponsoring a session at the Fifth International Congress of the John Gower Society, which will be held 29 June to 1 July 2020 at the University of Notre Dame.

Thomas Hoccleve and his “Maistir Gower:” Words, Books, Heritage

Near the end of the Prologue to his Regiment of Princes, Thomas Hoccleve laments the fact that Death has not only slain “my maistir Chaucer” (1962) but also “My maister Gower…whos vertu I am insufficient / for to descryve” (1975-77). Historically, critics have made much of Hoccleve’s subservient relationship to Chaucer as well as his insufficiency to describe many things. They have paid comparatively less attention to Hoccleve’s relationship with Gower. This session aims to change that.

The Fifth International Congress of the John Gower Society offers an ideal opportunity to explore Hoccleve’s relationship with the man whom Charles Blyth called “Hoccleve’s other Master.” Since the publication of Blyth’s article by that name three decades ago, there have been significant developments in the study of both Gower and Hoccleve: new documents pertaining to their lives have been discovered, the value of their poetry has been re-considered from different perspectives, and the transmission of their work has attracted much interest. This session’s aim is to bring some of these developments to bear on our understanding of any aspect of the relationship between these two authors.

The theme for the congress is “Gower in Contexts: His Words, His Books, His Heritage.” In their call for papers, the congress organizers encourage prospective presenters to understand this theme to include interpretative, linguistic or stylistic discussions of poetry; the study of publication (manuscript and print); and the identification of sources and influence.

Proposals should be no more than 250 words in length and should be sent to David Watt at the University of Manitoba (david.watt@umanitoba.ca) by August 25, 2019. Please feel free to be in touch beforehand if you have any questions or suggestions.

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The International Hoccleve Society Sponsors the 5th Annual Hoccleve Recovery Day: Self-Care and Cultures of Overwork

On November 1, c. 1415, Alle Hallowmesse, Thomas Hoccleve’s period of mental illness came to an end as his wits returned to him—which allowed him to return to his twofold program of work, as a poet and at the Privy Seal. Scribal work was hard—and potentially dangerous to body, mind, soul, and pocketbook—and Hoccleve didn’t let readers of his poetry forget this. His Friend from the eponymous “Dialogue with Friend” even suggests Hoccleve may have been a victim of overwork, his mental affliction caused by his “bisy studie” (line 302).

Yet, as critics have noted, Hoccleve believed work was a sort of cure, if not for his illness then at least for his subsequent problem of alienation from his associates. He chastises his friend for his suspicions, declaring that his “Complaint” ought to be sufficient evidence of his recovery (lines 317-18).

This November 1, we face our own maddening onslaught of work, with midterms and holiday preparations, and many of us will habitually feel like we never quite get enough done. Let us remember Hoccleve and his ultimately optimistic view of scribal labor and the relationship between writing, memory and selfhood. We celebrate both Thomas Hoccleve’s work and his recovery, reflecting on how our own work seeks to recover Middle English poetry and evidence of late medieval life, and on the personal and public importance of that work.

Please join us on Recovery Day through social media by posting your thoughts or thematically pertinent medieval quotations and images to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and our society’s website with the hashtag #Hoccleve. Look out for our own posts on our site and our Hoccleve Lyfe Coache, Twitter and Facebook feeds; and “like” or retweet items throughout the day under the #Hoccleve hashtag followed by any other tags you’d like, such as #recovery, #thisiswhataprofessorlookslike, #MiddleEnglish, or #MSilluminations. Please follow us, participate, and “like” us to stay tuned!

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