임현량  Hyunyang K Lim  Counterfeit Correspondences: Documentary Manipulations and Textual Consciousness in Gloucester’s Confession and The Man of Law’s Tale    67 ~ 97 Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Volume 25 No. 1 (2017)

Discussing Thomas Woodstock duke of Gloucester’s Confession, written in 1397, and Donegild’s counterfeit letters in The Man of Law’s Tale, this essay explores Chaucer’s reservations about the reliability of written documents. Noting that lawyers are involved in both Gloucester’s confession and The Man of Law’s Tale, this paper examines problems of written documents implicated in both narratives, such as documentary manipulations, fears of interception, and suspicions of forgery. I suggest that Chaucer’s close connections with contemporary legal circles made him understand that political events during the reign of Richard II questioned the status of written texts as an instrument of validating action. Despite an obvious connection between the Man of Law and the legal profession, The Man of Law’s Tale has never been studied in terms of the literate mentality of late medieval lawyers. This paper analyzes how tightly the Man of Law’s performance is constructed around references to writing and documents in order to reveal the textual mentality of the narrator deeply invested in written culture. As a master of documentation, the Man of Law understands anxieties and tensions attending the circulation of writing. While exploring these anxieties, this paper illuminates how The Man of Law’s Tale reiterates Chaucer’s skepticism about written authority and his concerns about the circulation of written texts that the poet has often expressed in his shorter poems.

Chaucer, The Man of Law’s Tale, Donegild, forgery, Gloucester’s Confession, written culture, legal profession