Tag Archives: Hoccleve Recovery Day

Recovering the First Mind

This post is written in honour of the Third Annual Hoccleve Recovery Day.  As the International Hoccleve Society’s website explains, this day celebrates all sorts of academic and personal recoveries and returns (just as Thomas Hoccleve’s wits returned to him on November 1st).  The book I am writing aims to recover ‘lost’ technical terms and reconstruct ideas about poetics that were current in Britain in the later Middle Ages.  Potential loss and possible recovery play an important part in the way fifteenth- and sixteenth-century poets think about metre.  As a sixteenth-century printer put it, if you print a poem in the author’s original spelling you recover ‘the native grace and first mynd of the wryter’.  This is because the author’s spelling encodes the rhythms and metrical patterns as first intended, which later transmission can unwittingly remove.

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