Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and other poetry, with attention to Chaucer's social, historical, and intellectual milieu.
ENGLISH 321A Term A: Summer, 2008-- Geoffrey Chaucer the Love Poet: The Early Poems This course will study the major early poems of Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde, The House of Fame, The Parlement of Foules, and The Book of the Dutchess. The primary focus will be on his masterpiece, the Troilus. A knowledge of Middle English is not a prerequisite, since you will learn the ME of Chaucer soon after starting the course, by reading the first part of Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales to orient ourselves to the language. In the early poems, Chaucer uses the French poetic tradition, explores the dream-vision genre and Boethian problems extensively, and experiments (as usual) with the limits of his genres and themes. In Troilus he has fashioned a powerful, paradoxical, erotic, doomed love story, whose consolation at the end you may find hardly consoling. Required readings include contexts as well as criticism. Quizzes, short papers, final, class report. Emphasis on close reading and class discussion, reading aloud.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Chaucer: Dream Visions and other Poems, ed. K. Lynch (Norton Critical Eds.) 13: 978-0-393-92588-3 Troilus and Criseyde, ed. R. A. Shoaf (Colleagues Press) 0937191108 pbk ok The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius, trans. Green (Lib. of Liberal Arts) 002346450
Optional: Some required reading in them. Copies on reserve in the Library and available at the Bookstore. The Story of Troilus, ed. R.K. Gordon (Toronto: M.A.R.T.) 0802063683 Miller, Robt. P., ed. Chaucer: Sources and Backgrounds. O.U.P. 0195021673 The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, eds. Jill Mann and Piero Boitani (C.U.P.) 0521894670 Aeneid (any edition) to be read before mid-term
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Some lecture, but emphasis on close reading in Middle English and class discussion, reading aloud.
Some knowledge of the AENEID and Middle English helpful, but not necessary.
Class assignments and grading
Quizzes, short papers, final, class report, individual close readings each week.
Attendance and class participation required, and the above quizzes, etc.