Course module - Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts
Code : ENGL20121 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 1
- To develop studentsí exploration of the Middle English period through study, in the original language, of Chaucerís The Canterbury Tales;
- To develop a further understanding of relevant historical and cultural contexts;
- To engage students with published criticism on Chaucer and to current critical debates in relation to his works;
- To study other writing of the period;
- To develop studentsí research skills;
- To develop a range of skills appropriate to a second year level of understanding medieval writing: written (including electronic forms) and verbal forms of expression; reflective or critical thinking; and the ability to organize material appropriately including into a coherent literary argument.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of the course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:
- A capacity to read Chaucer in the original language and an understanding of the range and variety of his works;
- An ability to engage critically with a range of Chaucerís writing through the detailed study of particular tales and their place in a wider context;
- An understanding of relevant cultural, historical and critical matters
An ability to deploy a range of skills appropriate to a level 2 unit in understanding medieval writing: to work independently towards both the examination and the essay;
- Developing the following range of skills: research, critical or reflective thinking, oral/aural (active listening), electronic retrieval; and to organize a coherent argument by paying attention to both close reading techniques and informed by an awareness of current critical debates.
One 2,500 word essay (40%); one 2-hour unseen written examination (60%)
The use of dictionaries in the examination is prohibited. This rule applies to all categories of students, including all Visiting Students.
THIS COURSE IS NOT AVAILABLE AS FREE-CHOICE.
The course focuses on Chaucerís Canterbury Tales, with particular reference to the Tales (and where appropriate, the Prologues) of the Knight, Miller, Reeve, Cook, Wife of Bath, Clerk, and Franklin. We will also read the Tale of Florent, by Chaucerís contemporary John Gower. The course will focus on such central themes as genre, gender, constructions of the self and community. It also examines genre, looking specifically at fabliau and epic, comedy and tragedy. The two-hour lectures are generally divided into two parts, with a focus on the texts in the first hour, in which a context for the selected texts and will be provided and central issues canvassed. The second hour will do various things, but in particular will equip you with what you need to know in order to Chaucerís and Gowerís Middle English language. Tutorials will support a more detailed study and analysis of the primary texts, taking in to consideration historical and cultural contexts.
Dr David Matthews
Professor Jeremy Tambling
PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE FOR 2013-2014
Lecture: Tuesday, 9.00-11.00
Seminars: T B A
Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
The edition used is Robert Boenig and Andrew Taylor, eds. The Canterbury Tales, 2nd edition (Broadview, 2012). Please make sure you DO NOT BUY Boenig and Taylor's other book, The Canterbury Tales: A Selection (2009). Students should begin by reading the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales, or at least the portraits of the Miller, Reeve, Cook, Man of Law, Wife of Bath, Clerk, and Franklin. It would be an advantage to make a start on the tales we will be studying themselves: begin with the Tales of the Miller, Reeve, Cook, and Wife of Bath if you want to get ahead. It would also be an advantage to read The Knightís Tale, though we will not be studying it directly. If you are unconfident with Chaucerís language, then focus on the General Prologue and use Boenig and Taylorís material on Middle English. We will study texts in the original Middle English and you must quote in the original in all your written work, including the exam.
Useful introductory critical material is: Helen Cooper, Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Steve Ellis, ed. Chaucer: An Oxford Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Helen Phillips, An Introduction to 'The Canterbury Tales' (London: Macmillan, 2000). Critical works frequently referred to in lectures include:
David Aers, Chaucer (London: Harvester, 1986)
Carolyn Dinshaw, Chaucerís Sexual Poetics (London, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989)
Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender (Oxford, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992)
Stephen Knight, Geoffrey Chaucer (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986);
Jill Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire (London: Cambridge University Press, 1973)
Lee Patterson, Chaucer and the Subject of History (London: Routledge, 1991)
Derek Pearsall, The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992)
Paul Strohm, Social Chaucer (London, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)