By Thomas A. Prendergast
First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional info for Chaucer's Dead Body
10 Part of the reason for this lack of clarity is because it remains somewhat unclear exactly who Nicholas Brigham was. ”11 And he apparently wrote the historical treatise “De Venationibus Rerum Memoribilium,” as well as some Latin poetry and a twelve volume work entitled “Memoirs by Way of a Diary,” but all of these works have been lost. ”12 In addition Brigham’s residence in a chamber in Wodman’s Rents in the Almonry at Westminster Abbey from 1526–28 certainly puts him in the vicinity of the tomb (see figure 1, the almonry is number 44 on the map).
Hence, Caxton claims to have chosen this “other” book upon which he based his new version of the Tales. 87 But the point is that Caxton juxtaposes his own faulty printings of the Tales, which many gentlemen bought, with the CHAUCER’S DEATH • 39 private, personal manuscript which the father was loath to part with, even temporarily. Far from distancing the readers from the past, Caxton seems here to insist on a genealogical and historical connection with a personal past in which (like Lydgate and Hoccleve) Caxton’s anxieties about the loss of Chaucer lead him to assert Chaucer’s presence in the handwritten codex which is the source for the new edition.
It is not, of course, that Hoccleve does not wish to “control” Chaucer, rather it is that Hoccleve is able to avoid being caught between corporeal and incorporeal by drawing attention to the act of verisimilar representation and (as we saw above) underlining the rationale for the act. In order for his exchange with Prince Henry to work, Hoccleve depends on the ability to recover, reiterate and represent the body of the poet. Unlike Lydgate, he does not talk of counterfeiting Chaucer’s style, but lays claim to the minting of a true image of Chaucer.