What is up with the frame narrative of Canterbury Tales? Why should we care about the Canterbury Tales today?
In this class we will study one of the great classics of English literature: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. In the Tales, we see Chaucer at the height of his poetic abilities, mixing sensitive characterization and stunning complexity of storytelling with his inimitable wit and good humor. In our reading of The Canterbury Tales, we will look carefully at the intimate relationship between Chaucer’s stories and their narrative frame, between the tales and their tellers, and we will be watching how Chaucer engages and plays with his various literary sources. We will be reading Chaucer in his original Middle English, but no previous experience with Middle English is required for the class.
Although not a prerequisite for this course, we encourage students to also take Chaucer I: Visions of Love, which covers the earlier stage of Chaucer’s poetic career.
Week 1 – The Prologue
- Frames and Beginnings
- General Prologue I.1-269
Week 2 – From Frame to Story
- General Prologue I.270-858
- The Knight’s Tale I.859-1880
Week 3 – The Knight
- The Knight’s Tale I.1881-3108
- The Knight’s Tale, conclusions
Week 4 – The Miller
- The Miller’s Prologue and Tale I.3109-3396
- The Miller’s Tale I.3397-3854
Week 5 – The Reeve and the Wife
- The Reeve’s Pologue and Tale I.3855-4324
- The Wife of Bath’s Prologue III.1-452
Week 6 – The Wife of Bath
- The Wife of Bath’s Prologue III.453-856
- The Wife of Bath’s Tale III.857-1264
Week 7 – The Clerk
- The Clerk’s Prologue and Tale IV.1-609
- The Clerk’s Tale IV.610-1212
Week 8 – The Merchant
- The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale IV.1213-1865
- The Merchant’s Tale and Epilogue IV.1866-2440
Week 9 – The Franklin
- The Franklin’s Prologue and Tale V.709-1100
- The Franklin’s Tale V.1101-1624
Week 10 – The Pardoner and the Prioress
- The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale VI.287-968
- The Prioress’s Prologue and Tale VII.453-690
Week 11 – The Narrator and the Nun’s Priest
- The Tale of Sir Thopas VII.691-966
- The Nun’s Priest’s Prologue and Tale VII.2767-3186
Week 12 – The Nun’s Priest, the Parson, and The End
- The Nun’s Priest’s Tale and Epilogue VII.3187-3462
- The Parson’s Tale, The Retraction
The Amazon links are provided for convenience only, and we encourage students to purchase texts wherever they wish.
- One of the following:
- The Decameron by Boccaccio (Penguin Edition)
Note on Textbooks: Students should purchase either The Riverside Chaucer or The Canterbury Tales , edited by Robert Boenig and Andrew Taylor, but do not need both. Our primary textbook for both semesters of the Chaucer course will be The Riverside Chaucer – the premier scholarly edition of Chaucer’s complete works, and an excellent resource for any student interested in medieval literature. However, since the Riverside is expensive, students taking only Chaucer II are welcome to use Boening and Taylor’s edition of The Canterbury Tales. or any other good scholarly edition of this poem in the original Middle English.
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Spring 2021||Liam Daley|
|Spring 2018||Liam Daley|
|Summer 2014||Liam Daley|