Geoffrey Chaucer was the first poet writing in English who was lauded and studied as literature in his own time. His body of writing, covering a breathtakingly wide range of subjects, is a subtle mix of satire and the sublime. This course is an introduction to Chaucer’s poetry, including but not limited to his masterpiece, the Canterbury Tales. It is also an introduction to the Middle English language. The course is structured around the different genres and literary forms invented or reinterpreted by Chaucer, from tales of courtly love to fabliaux (fables) and dream visions. No prior knowledge of Middle English required.
Who was Geoffrey Chaucer and what is Middle English?
Chivalry and courtly love (romance)
Dirty words and dirty deeds (fabliau)
Fallible authors (exemplum)
Winged wonders (dream vision)
Shorter poems (lyric)