Geoffrey Chaucer, the Critical Heritage

By Derek Brewer | Go to book overview

45.

THOMAS FREDERICK TOUT, A PRUDENT COURTIER

1929

T.F. Tout (1855-1929), educated at Balliol College, Oxford, was Professor of History at Manchester University, 1890-1925. His main professional concern was the history of medieval English administration, which enabled him to focus on Chaucer’s professional career with an historian’s appropriate scepticism. Chaucer’s position as a courtier in a relatively mobile society is emphasised. Reprinted from ‘Speculum’ IV (1929), pp. 368-71, 379-88, by permission of the Editor.

(p. 368) My chief thesis to-day is that an appreciable proportion of fourteenth-century English literature came from the civil servants of the state. By English literature I mean books written by Englishmen, in whatever tongue they were written, it being understood that most books made in England were then written in Latin, some in French, and some in English. To write good books in any tongue involves a good education, and I may perhaps begin with a few words about the education of the civil servant of the Middle Ages. That he was a fairly well educated man is clear from his works. He had, for example, to have a reading and writing knowledge of three languages. Assuming English to be his mother tongue (an assumption not always warranted in the fourteenth century), his official vernacular was certainly French until the very end of the period, and his official communications, so far as they were formal, were generally made in Latin, though again, as the century grew older, the official language became to an increasing extent French. To this we must add a wide acquaintance with official forms and precedents, the traditions of his office, the corresponding formalities and traditions of foreign courts and offices, skill in the art of dictamen or literary composition and form, and a good knowledge of law, municipal, civil, and ecclesiastical. How was all this knowledge obtained? Mainly, I feel convinced, by apprenticeship under a master, the method in which all knowledge was acquired in the Middle Ages. The junior official copied forms under direction, until he was skillful enough to write them on his own responsibility. Ultimately he became in his turn, the master, that is, the instructor and

-430-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Geoffrey Chaucer, the Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 512

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.