Short Course Description
Best known today as the author of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer began his career by writing experimental dream visions that probe the nature of love, loss, poetic fame, and worldly mutability. As his voice gained maturity, he embarked on his first major project: Troilus and Criseyde, the story of a tragic love affair that unfolds against the background of the Trojan War, among the most complex and rewarding long narrative poems in the English language. A few years later, he produced The Legend of Good Women, an unfinished collection of stories proposing (or purporting) to vindicate women from misogynist stereotypes.
Full syllabus will be available to registered students only
This seminar is an opportunity to read most of these works from cover to cover, together with several of their sources and selected critical articles illustrating some of the main approaches that scholars have brought to bear on them. Though previous core courses taught by Dr. Stavsky are recommended (in particular this year's Medieval Literature in Translation), no prior knowledge of Chaucer's language is required. However, all Middle English texts will be taught in the original, and you will quickly be expected to become proficient in the grammar, core vocabulary, and pronunciation of its London dialect, the basis of the early modern literary standard.
EVALUATION: full attendance and active participation, with a maximum of four absences for whatever reason (10%); a midterm paper (30%); a seminar paper or referat, which includes at least one preliminary conference with the lecturer and a research proposal (60%). In addition, the lecturer may assign short presentations, which are obligatory but will not be graded, or replace certain in-class lessons with asynchronous sessions; in such cases, a short group assignment will be factored into the attendance and participation component. Students must attend the required number of lessons, successfully present the material they have been asked to, submit all assignments (including the research proposal) by the deadline set on Moodle, and get a passing grade for the midterm and final papers in order to pass the course.
COURSE POLICIES IN BRIEF: This course requires full attendance at all lessons (including any make-up classes) from the first day of the semester regardless of the method of instruction used to teach them. All Health Ministry guidelines must be followed; teaching cannot proceed unless all students comply with them. As long as classes are held on campus, the lessons will not be broadcast on Zoom nor will recordings be provided. Should instruction shift online, you will have to arrange to spend the entire duration of the lesson in a quiet, distraction-free space with your camera switched on and your face clearly visible while refraining from all non-course-related activities in order to be counted as present. Please inform the lecturer in advance should you require any special accommodations and make every effort to obtain official recognition of your needs by the Dean of Students Office before the course begins.