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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 376L • Chaucer and Shakespeare

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35298 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

This course investigates the textual relations between two of the foundational writers in English literary history, Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare. Reading selections from the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde, we will look at the ways Chaucer's poetry provided the source for a number of Shakepeare's plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Troilus and Cressida, and Two Noble Kinsmen. But we will also look to other relations such as the comparative handling of genre (how was tragedy differently conceived for these writers), history (what were the Latin classics for the two poets) and subjectivity (how did they fashion a sense of intimate interiority). Examining the poems and plays closely, engaging with critical debate about the relation between the two writers, we will also look at the textual cultures in which these individuals wrote by examining original materials at the Humanities Research Center, including medieval manuscripts of Chaucer's poetry and the edition of Chaucer that Shakespeare likely read.

Grading Policy

Editing and rewriting quizzes: 30%
Three analytic papers: 10, 20, 30% respectively (total 60%)
Classroom performance: 10%


The Riverside Chaucer, or The Canterbury Tales, Complete and Troilus and Criseyde
A Midsummer Night's Dream (all Arden editions of the plays)
Two Noble Kinsmen
Troilus and Cressida
Romeo and Juliet


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