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Chaucer and the Subject of Bureaucracy

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Mead, J (2005) Chaucer and the Subject of Bureaucracy. Exemplaria, 19 (1). pp. 39-66. ISSN 1041-2573 (print) 1753-3074 (online)

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Abstract

This paper takes its lead from Sheila Delany's important and influential
"Slaying Python: Marriage and Misogyny in a Chaucerian Text" (1996). Delany's
argument offers a number of theoretical and interpretive interventions
in liberal humanist readings of a particular Chaucerian text, the canonical
poetic fi gure of Chaucer and Chaucer as biographical subject. In The Life of
Geoffrey Chaucer, Derek Pearsall considers Chaucer's acceptance of the post
of Comptroller of the Wool Custom and the Wool Subsidy in June 1374 and
comments that Chaucer's "career shifted decisively away from the immediate
environs of the royal court": the Comptroller "job itself was something of
a chore and not a usual avenue to promotion for an ambitious squire."My
argument is that this fourteen-year career as a bureaucrat, coming as it does
after Chaucer's earlier periods of military service (1359-60, 1369, 1370) and
the years 1366-1378 during which Chaucer undertakes perhaps fi ve diplomatic
and trade missions, raises a question about the subjectivity we construct for
Chaucer out of the conjunction of public writing and personal history: what
might it mean to read a 'bureaucratic Chaucer'?

Item Type: Article
Keywords: KEYWORDS: Chaucer, bureaucracy, biography, subjectivity, offi cial records
Journal or Publication Title: Exemplaria
Page Range: pp. 39-66
ISSN: 1041-2573 (print) 1753-3074 (online)
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1179/175330707X203200
Additional Information:

This article first appeared in 2006 @ <http://www.english.ufl.edu/exemplaria/SD/Mead.htm>. It was republished in the format deposited on e-Print. Bibliographic details cite the current format.

Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:22
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