Chaucer

L305 — Spring 2020

Instructor
Karma Lochrie
Days and Times
1:00-2:15 TR
Course Description

This course is a journey, much as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is also a journey. Like all journeys, this one is full of surprises, beginning with the strange and wonderful sounds of the Middle English language in which Chaucer wrote and its delightful playfulness and complexity. The journey ends with a reading of a contemporary responses to Chaucer’s great work, including a collection of Refugee Tales told from the refugee in the UK’s point of view and Patience Agbabi’s brilliant poetic remix of the tales. In between these two points this course will introduce you to a Middle Ages you never thought existed—one that thought deeply about gender, sexuality, race, and class and that was unafraid of cultural critique. Among the targets of Chaucer’s satires and critiques is the religious institutions that governed so much of medieval society and psychology of his time. Finally, this course pays close attention to what Chaucer has to tell us, the inhabitants of what has been called “a post-truth society” about truth-telling. The course will include two papers, some short written assignments and translations, a midterm, and a final exam.