ENG 250 Chaucer

Nancy Bradbury, T Th 3:00 PM-4:20 PM

The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote of Chaucer, “He was made for an early poet, and the metaphors of dawn and spring doubly become him…. He is the good omen of our poetry.” This course is devoted to a study in the original language of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s final and most innovative work. By learning to read Middle English, students gain a much deeper familiarity with the English of our own day.  Chaucer’s tales represent the most popular medieval genres, including chivalric romances, moral and devotional works, and indecent comic tales. Through close study of the tales and of the framing story that unites them, students acquaint themselves with Chaucer's many and varied poetic and narrative techniques. Some have their counterparts in poetry and fiction of recent centuries; others will be new to modern readers. The course also provides an introduction to Chaucer’s world—social, material, philosophical and religious, as well as literary.

Requirements include attendance and participation, translation quizzes, short exercises, two critical papers, and a final examination.

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales Complete, ed. Larry D. Benson,

          Houghton Mifflin 2000, paperback, ISBN 0–395–97823–8.

Collette, Carolyn P. and Harold Garrett-Goodyear, eds.  The Later Middle Ages: A


          Sourcebook, Palgrave 2011, ISBN 978-0-230-55136-7.