BIG love to all the single ladies, put your hands up, here's the next reading group:
Making Medieval Subcultures? Chaucer’s Cook/Chaucer’s Punks
As medievalists, we spend a lot of time talking about medieval ‘culture’. Perhaps, then, it might be interesting to start talking about ‘subculture’. Chaucer’s Cook, one of the most critically underrated figures in the Canterbury Tales, gives us a glimpse of a little urban disorder and an unruly band of revelers:
And gadered hym a meynee of his sort
To hoppe and synge and maken swich disport
In this next session, by critically combining parts of Dick Hebdige’s 1979 book Subculture: The Meaning of Style with Chaucer’s Cook, his ‘real life’ counterpart Roger De Ware, and Martha Carlin’s picture of eating out in medieval London, perhaps we can start to imagine what kind of figures these Apprentices are, and how urban spaces are organized in medieval London.
Is Chaucer’s cook part of a ‘subculture’? Is Hebdige’s book, itself an account of social disorder in twentieth century Britain, useful for imagining this? What kinds of places are Taverns, and streets, and what kinds of rules are attached to them?
The portrait of the Cook in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales; the Manciple’s Prologue; the Cook’s Prologue and Tale
Roger de Ware, Cook from the Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London
Chapters Six and Seven of Dick Hebidge’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style
‘Fast Food and Urban Living Standards in Medieval England’ by Martha Carlin in Food and Eating in Medieval Europe