Open Access Repository

Chaucer and the Subject of Bureaucracy


Downloads per month over past year

Mead, J 2005 , 'Chaucer and the Subject of Bureaucracy' , Exemplaria, vol. 19, no. 1 , pp. 39-66 , doi: 10.1179/175330707X203200.

[img] PDF
EXM_Mead.pdf | Document not available for request/download
Full text restricted
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


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
Authors/Creators:Mead, J
Keywords: KEYWORDS: Chaucer, bureaucracy, biography, subjectivity, offi cial records
Journal or Publication Title: Exemplaria
ISSN: 1041-2573 (print) 1753-3074 (online)
DOI / ID Number: 10.1179/175330707X203200
Additional Information:

This article first appeared in 2006 @ <>. It was republished in the format deposited on e-Print. Bibliographic details cite the current format.

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page