ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Section: 002 The Other Chaucer
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Before the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer was already writing humorous, experimental, even avant-garde poetry that connected the great traditions of classical and continental literature to new readers in English. He was interested in dream visions, love lyrics, political critique, allegories, and heroic and romantic stories from ancient Greece and Rome. We will begin with his short, quirky, imaginative dream poems (the Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, and the Parliament of Fowls), populated by talking animals, ice palaces, and bereaved knights. The centerpiece of the course will be the incomparable romance Troilus and Criseyde, a love poem set in the doomed city of Troy; by turns funny and heartbreaking, it lays bare the tragic impact of military and political concerns upon the worlds of love and private fulfillment. We will finish with the Legend of Good Women, an experimental story collection exploring female experience assigned to Chaucer (or so he claims) as penance for the crime of writing Troilus and Criseyde.

No prior knowledge of Chaucer’s Middle English is expected or required, since part of your work—and pleasure--will be learning the language with enough fluency to appreciate the beauty and depth of Chaucer’s poetry in its original state.

Course Requirements:

Several short close readings, a class presentation, and your choice between a longer essay (10 pages) and an equivalent final project.

Intended Audience:

As a discussion course in a global literary form, this course welcomes all interested readers, majors and non-majors alike. English majors, other literature majors, MEMS minors.

Class Format:


ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Th 6:00PM - 9:00PM
002 (SEM)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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