Hardly comparable to Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, or William Langland as a writer, Thomas Usk nonetheless can tell us much about them, especially Chaucer (and his masterpiece Troilus and Criseyde), and about the London scene in which they all played roles, especially during the turbulent 1380s amid the developing crises of the monarchy of Richard II.

Thomas Usk was a scrivener, largely self-taught, and a Londoner all his life. His birth date is unknown, and his origins were modest. He emerged into view in 1382 when he was appointed as the clerk to the London Goldsmiths' Company and entered the tortuous political factionalism of that decade as the “familiar clerk” (so the chronicler Walsingham calls him) and ally …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Shoaf, R. Allen. "Thomas Usk". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4505, accessed 03 July 2015.]