What is the course about?
This course picks up on several key themes that Chaucer was concerned with when writing the Canterbury Tales.
Looking at a few key Tales from the collection, we will see how Chaucer often playfully defies clear interpretation, but at the same time seems to focus on certain matters in medieval society, such as the church and the representation of people of different status.
What will we cover?
Consideration of some significant 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...
Describe the reasons why Chaucer wished to translate classical texts, and relate to classical poet figures.
Recognise the works that relate to the Classical world.
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?
Although this course considers medieval English writing, it is not technical and requires no specific knowledge of linguistics or linguistic terms. All work will be looked at in translation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
By presentation and demonstration. Also group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You can bring pen and paper but course notes will be provided. All extracts of texts we will look at will be provided.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at all literature courses on the web under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.