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

Fall 2009

E 376L • Chaucer and Shakespeare-- HONORS

Unique Days Time Location Instructor

Scala, E

Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

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

Writing Assignments: 20%; Presentation: 20%; Final Research Essay: 50%; 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 Kinsmenm, Troilus and Cressida, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet


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