English 391: Chaucer (Section P114) : 1pm, Stroud 319, Spring 2000

This course will focus on bringing the student to facility in reading Chaucer in Middle English, which will be accomplished and then tested in a number of ways.

First, we will begin by reading together from the Hieatt & Hieatt Bantam "dual translation" edition of a good selection from the Canterbury Tales (see below). We will also examine the First Fragment of the Tales, from the clearly-glossed Alexander Penguin edition (see below). We will then move to a discussion of the Wife of Bath's Tale, in the Peter Beidler edition, which also contains discussion of various critical approaches to that tale which may be applied to other Canterbury Tales (see below). We will close the course with an examination of The Story of Troilus (which might as easily and perhaps even more appropriately be called The Story of Criseyde) in the R.K. Gordon edition (see below).

Along the way you will be offered the opportunity to hear Chaucer read in Middle English on a daily basis in class, and will also be given a tape of The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale to study, for later testing of your competence in reading Middle English, through your own reading of the text on the tape prepared outside of class, as well as your own reading in Middle English in class.

There will also be a midterm examination, on the corpus of Canterbury Tales read up until that point, besides a researched term paper, either on the Wife of Bath -- following the bibliographical leads offered in the Beidler edition -- or on "The Story of Troilus." The course will conclude with a final examination on the works contained in the following syllabus:

Week I ( Mon., Jan. 24): The General Prologue.
Week II (Jan 31): The Knight's Tale.
Week III (Feb. 7): The Miller's Tale.
Week IV (Feb. 14): The Reeve's Tale & The Cook's Fragment.
Week V (Feb. 21): The Wife of Bath's Prologue
Week VI (Feb. 28): The Wife of Bath's Tale.
Week VII (Mar. 6): The Merchant's Prologue & Tale
Week VIII (Mar 13): The Franklin's Tale. Midterm Exam.
Spring Recess March 17-27
Week IX (Mar. 27): The Pardoner.
Week X (April 3): The Prioress.
Week XI (April 10): The Nun's Priest's Tale. Taped test.
Week XII (April 17): The Story of Troilus, Books I & II.
Week XIII (April 24): The Story of Troilus, Book III.
Week XIV (May 1): The Story of Troilus, Books IV & V.
Week XV (May 8-12): Fifteenth Week: Term Paper Due, Final Exam.

The following are the texts for this course:

Hieatt & Hieatt, The Canterbury Tales. Bantam pbk, 1981 or later.
Michael Alexander, The First Fragment. Penguin pbk, 1996.
Peter Beidler, The Wife of Bath. Bedford/St..Martins pbk, 1996.
R.K. Gordon, The Story of Troilus. Dutton pbk, 1964 or later.

Note: the magisterial hardcover edition of the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry Benson (1987) is highly recommended for purchase, although this is not required for this course.

Also Recommended:
The Chaucer Metapage - URL - This project was initiated at the 33rd International Congress on Medieval Studies by Larry D. Benson, Edwin Duncan, and Joseph Wittig, joined by a number of other medievalists.