E f376 • Chaucer
10:00 AM-11:30 AM
This course serves as an introduction to the poet Geoffrey Chaucer and to the medieval society in which he lived through a careful reading of his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales. In reading Chaucer's story collection, we will pay particular attention to the medieval veneration of "old bookes," noting the various ways Chaucer's "book" looks toward and depends upon other texts for its significance.
Reading Chaucer's Canterbury Tales requires learning Middle English, and much of the first week of class will be devoted to acquiring the necessary language skills. Therefore, attendance, preparation, and participation are not simply recommended but mandatory. Excessive absences will seriously affect ALL PORTIONS of your grade. More than three absences will result in your final grade for the course being lowered by a full letter and may result in course failure.
Also available for order from me are cassette tapes of the individual tales. Most cost $5. I will place an order during the first week of class. You may order as many tapes as you like, but I recommend that you get at least one to help you with Middle English pronunciation, which in turn will help your reading comprehension generally.
Weekly exams including translation, explication and an essay 15%, 20%, 25%
Final exam (cumulative) 30%
Classroom performance 10%
The Canterbury Tales: Complete, ed. Larry D. Benson, Houghton Mifflin, 2000
The Canterbury Tales, Derek Pearsall, Routledge, 1995
One CD from the Chaucer Studio (to be purchased in class)