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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Reading Chaucer - AAALA034A
Title: Reading Chaucer
Guaranteed by: Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures (21-UALK)
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Actual: from 2023 to 2023
Semester: winter
Points: 0
E-Credits: 5
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:0/2, C [HT]
Capacity: unknown / 15 (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
Key competences:  
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Level:  
Additional information: https://dl1.cuni.cz/course/view.php?id=5410
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Mgr. Helena Znojemská, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): Mgr. Helena Znojemská, Ph.D.
Is co-requisite for: AAALA034B
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download Chaucer-syllabus2023.pdf seminar syllabus Znojemská winter 2023 Mgr. Helena Znojemská, Ph.D.
Annotation
OBJECTIVES
The course is meant to provide a comprehensive introduction into the study of Chaucer's writings. The issues in
focus will be Chaucer's engagement with the literary tradition; narrative strategies and Chaucer's narrator persona
(s); "earnest and game" - humour, irony, parody and their uses. The course also proposes to map Chaucer's poetic
career in presenting selections of his earlier works alongside his best known piece, The Canterbury Tales, tracing
developments as well as continuities in the predominant concerns in Chaucer's texts.

MATERIAL
Primary texts:
▪ selection of lyrics
▪ Parliament of Foules
▪ The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
Wife of Bath's Prologue
The Merchant's Tale
The Franklin's Tale
selections from The Tale of Sir Thopas, The Tale of Melibee, The Nuns' Priest's Tale
Primary texts will be provided in original with glosses and in translation for convenience, but a willingness to look
beyond the translation to the original is requisite for a fair treatment and discussion of the texts.

Secondary texts:
A selection of critical reading will be posted in Moodle.

Recommended reading:
Brown, P., ed. (2000) A Companion to Chaucer, Oxford: Blackwell
Cooper, H. (1989) The Canterbury Tales. Oxford Guides to Chaucer, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Edwards, R.R. (1989) The Dream of Chaucer: Representation and Reflection in the Early Narratives, Durham:
Duke University
Hansen, T.E. (1992) Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender, Berkeley: University of California Press
Mann, J. (1973) Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Patterson, L. (1991) Chaucer and the Subject of History, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press

PROCEDURE
The seminar will combine Moodle forum with class sessions (switching to Zoom if the faculty authorities move us
online).
The forum is designed to serve as a preparation for the class discussion. Students will take turns introducing the
respective texts to their colleagues through a brief personalized summary – describing the interpretative problems
they have encountered in reading. There will also be questions for discussion posted in the forum, which the
students should consider and respond to briefly (picking one problem and commenting on it in the space of 1-2
sentences). Finally, students are encouraged to add their own questions to the forum.
The class session will expand on this initial embryonic debate, allowing all participants to interrogate, compare
and combine their individual insights and conclusions.
Further details will be discussed during the first introductory session.

DETAILED PROGRAMME
1. week 1: Introduction
2. week 2-3: Chaucer’s Lyrics
Womanly Noblesse
The Complaint of Mars
To Rosemounde
The Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse
Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan
Gentilesse
3. week 4-5: Chaucer’s early dream visions
The Parliament of Foules
▪ Olsson, K. (1989) “Poetic Invention and Chaucer's Parlement of Foules” Modern Philology.
87(1), pp.13-35
▪ Bertolet, Craig E. (1996) “ ‘My wit is sharp; I love no taryinge’: Urban Poetry and the
Parlement of Foules” Studies in Philology. Vol. 93, pp.365-389
4. week 6-7: The Canterbury Tales – General Prologue
▪ Mann, J. (1973) Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
– pp. 1-16 + 187-202
▪ Patterson, L. (1991) Chaucer and the Subject of History, Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press – pp. 36-32
5. week 8-10: The Canterbury Tales – men, women and marriage
w8: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
▪ Hansen, T.E. (1992) “The Wife of Bath and the Mark of Adam” in Chaucer and the Fictions of
Gender, Berkeley: University of California Press – pp. 26-57
w9: The Merchant’s Tale
▪ Patterson, L. (1991) “Chaucerian Commerce: Bourgeois Ideology and Poetic Exchange in the
Merchant’s and Shipman’s Tales” in Chaucer and the Subject of History, Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press – pp. 322-349
w10: The Franklin’s Tale
▪ Nowlin, S. (2006) "Between Precedent and Possibility: Liminality, Historicity, and Narrative in
Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale" Studies in Philology. 103(1), pp. 47-67 /
▪ Pearcy, R.J. (2009) "Épreuves d'amour and Chaucer's Franklin's Tale" The Chaucer Review.
44(2), pp.159-185
6. week 11-12: The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer’s narrative personas
w11: The Prologue to the Tale of Sir Thopas, The Tale of Sir Thopas, The Tale of Melibee
▪ Patterson, L. (1989)“ ‘What Man Artow?’: Authorial Self-Definition in The Tale of Sir Thopas
and The Tale of Melibee”, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 11, 117–75
w12: The Nun’s Priest’s Tale
▪ Travis, Peter W. (1984) “The Nun's Priest's Tale as Grammar-school Primer”, Studies in the
Age of Chaucer. Proceedings vol. 1 pp. 81-91
▪ Cooper, H (1989) The Canterbury Tales. Oxford Guides to Chaucer, Oxford: Clarendon Press
(selection).
7. week 13: Conclusions
week 14 in reserve

ASSESSMENT
Students are expected to give one oral presentation and submit a paper of 1,000 words for a credit. An essay of
5,000 words should be submitted as a graded paper. Active participation is of the essence. Deadlines: seminar
paper 31/8/2024, graded paper 30/8/2025. Later submissions will not be accepted.
Last update: Znojemská Helena, Mgr., Ph.D. (21.09.2023)
 
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