Thomas Hoccleve (Occleve) was certainly an admirer of Chaucer. Although many of Hoccleve's poems are clearly indebted to the great poet, he is more than a poor imitator and his work should be studied in its own right. Hoccleve is most famous for his autobiographical writings, in which he describes his work as a clerk in the office of the Privy Seal, London life, and above all his own mental breakdown. Many of his poems are moralising and written in the form of a complaint.
It is difficult to decide whether his moralising style was a personal point of view, or - more probably - the public role expected of a minor poet of his age.
Among Hoccleve's larger poems there are: La Male Regle de T. Hoccleve, The Regiment of Princes, The Series Poems (Complaint, Dialogue with a Friend, Jereslaus' Wife, Learn to Die, and The Tale of Jonathas). The Series Poems are partially linked by a dialogue with a fictitious friend who gives advice as to the compilation of the book and its future presentation to the patrons.
Hoccleve's earliest work is The Letter of Cupid, a very interesting adaptation of Christine de Pisan's Epistre au Dieu d'Amours.
|Literature, Middle English Period, Poetry|