A pilgrimage through Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Course Dates: 02/04/17
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Steven Breeze

Focusing on the General Prologue, we look at the early manuscripts of the Tales, considering Chaucer's use of langage and imagery, and explore themes that run through the Tales: corruption, religion, gender, and status in medieval society.

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  • "Canterbury tales mural" by Ezra Winter, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith (public domain) - via Wikimedia Commons

A pilgrimage through Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

  • "Canterbury tales mural" by Ezra Winter, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith (public domain) - via Wikimedia Commons

What is the course about?

This course picks up on several key themes that Chaucer was concerned with when writing the Canterbury Tales. Through looking at the description of different pilgrims in the General Prologue, we will see how Chaucer often playfully defies clear interpretation, but at the same time is focused on certain matters in medieval society, such as the church and the representation of people of different status.

What will we cover?

Consideration of the General Prologue and other Tales in the collection.
Discussion of what the Canterbury Tales tells us about medieval society, and Chaucer’s views on it.
A look at the different manuscripts that we still have access to.
Consider how the Tales are incomplete and of uncertain order. What does this mean for our interpretation of them?

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

By the end of this course you should be able to...

Understand the world within which Chaucer lived.
Have a general knowledge of the structure of the Tales.
Be familiar with the key themes of interest to Chaucer.
Understand how Chaucer uses language to keep us guessing about his true intentions throughout much of the work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

There are no particular requirements. We will be engaging with language that may at first seem different, but techniques will be shown that will make the writing far easier to understand.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be a mixture of lecture, close reading of the text, discussion and group working.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Extracts will be handed out, so no particular texts are required, but if you have a copy of The Riverside Chaucer, then that will be ideal.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Book your place

Course Code: HLT46

Sun, day, 02 Apr - 02 Apr '17

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £49.00
Senior fee: £39.00
Concession: £25.00
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Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2717

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Please note: Different fees may apply for international students. Read full guidance.