Thomas Hoccleve: The Complaint (1591 words)


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The Complaint, as the opening segment of Hoccleve’s Series, tells the story of its narrator’s recovery from a “wylde infirmitee” and establishes the subject matter for the Series’ second section, the Dialogue with a Friend. As a poem it is thematically interesting, connected to issues of self and subjectivity, autobiography and literary convention, intentionality and textual artifice. The poetic persona of The Complaint relates how he experienced a period of apparent mental instability, and the poem also touches upon the narrator’s perception of his own subsequent social stigmatization as he considers the change in the reaction of the community towards him. Essentially the poem c…

Citation: Cummings, Raymond. "The Complaint". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 March 2008 [, accessed 21 January 2021.]

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