Medieval Literature: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
English 4210/7210
Emma Lipton
Course Description

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales provide an introduction to a broad range of medieval literature, revealing the surprising variety of genres and forms in the period, from the bawdy fabliaux, to the courtly romances, to the theological lessons of saints' lives. With each of the tales told from the perspective of a person from a distinctly different social position within society, Chaucer's tales allow us to study competing notions of community in the Middle Ages and the ways that social class shaped individuals' values. We will study the tales in relation to both social and religious politics, and investigate such topics as governance and authority, the construction of individuality, chivalry, fin amor ("courtly love"), gender and sexuality, and forms of spirituality. The course will focus both on close analysis and on the ways that major historical and cultural issues shaped literary texts.

This course counts as Diversity Intensive for the College of Arts and Sciences.