Major Authors

In this course we will read the entirety of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a narrative and poetic collection that is variously bawdy, pious, moving, disturbing, and hilarious. We will read about drunken millers, man-hungry serial monogamists, glad-handing social climbers, bitter provincial bureaucrats, hypocritical members of the ecclesiastical vice squad, and cooks with disturbingly lax standards of personal hygiene (among others). These pilgrims will in turn tell stories of star-crossed love in ancient Athens; why crows are black and can no longer speak; the best way for nerdy students to find love and sex; what one thing all mortal women most desire; and whether you can kill Death without dying yourself (among others). No background in medieval literature or Middle English is expected; enthusiasm for challenging but rewarding material is, and will be repaid with interest.