Chaucer and the English Tradition

Module code: EN2010 (double module)

This module will introduce you to one of the most important periods in the development of English literature, the 14th and 15th centuries. The module will focus on Geoffrey Chaucer as the ‘father of English poetry’, but will also pose questions about the validity of this label. You will see how Chaucer’s dizzying mixture of different voices and strands of thought make it difficult to claim his work as the bedrock of any single, cohesive tradition; they will also be shown how porous are the boundaries of his work, as they draw equally from Italian, Latin and French, and challenge the notion of a securely ‘English’ literature. By engaging closely with Chaucer's careful manipulation of language and genre, and by considering his work from a variety of critical viewpoints, you will gain an appreciation of the richness and complexity of medieval poetry in general, and of the incipient English tradition it produced.

Learning

  • 19 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 1 hour of tutorials
  • 270 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Passage analysis (30%)
  • Exam, 2.5 hours (70%)