English 330, Spring 2015, SYLLABUS VIEW

Weekly Schedule and Assignments: Last updated 02/02/2015 05:24:07 PM

Week 1 (1/28): Because the seminar meets only once a week, we will start with a "real" class with reading assignments and some active topics for discussion.  After a brief course introduction, I will give you a fast lesson in Middle English pronunciation and reading to help most of you remember what you heard in English 211.  To prepare for discussion of Chaucer's life and culture, and the role of manuscripts, books, and editors in the invention of the Canterbury Tales, read the Riverside Chaucer (RC) "Introduction" first 11 pages (xv-xxvi) for a short biography of Chaucer. Also please see the pre-course introduction to thinking like a C14 Londoner.  Our primary text for this class will be the  "General Prologue" (853 ll.).  Click here for a guide to today's discussion.   If we have time, will will practice reading aloud one or more of these three short lyrics to practice Middle English skills: "Truth: Balade de Bon Consul" (653), "Gentilesse: Moral Balade of Chaucier" (654), and Lak of Stedfastnesse" (654). For critical studies of Chaucer's shorter lyrics, including these, click here.  Later this week and next, I hope to meet with all of you to get to know your interests in studying Chaucer, and to help you start practicing your Middle English.  I know some of you will be worried about the Middle English part, but if you treat it like "singing," and practice the tune, the sound of it will become familiar to you within a few weeks.  I have made a Conference Times for 1/28 to 2/4 set of conference times available.    Email me to reserve a time.  Click here for help understanding how to pronounce Middle English vowels and consonants. For a sample quiz on the "General Prologue," and a link to the answers and rationales for the questions, click here  Tres riche heures of the Duke du Berry--visions of medieval life: the images are a good visual encyclopedia illustrating the varying dress and actions of medieval peasants and aristocrats.    Speght Chaucer (1598) Chaucer Portrait (John Speed, engraver)--Goucher College Library copy (Special Collections Oversize Vertical PR1850 1598)

Week 2  (2/4): "Knight's Tale" Parts 1 and 2 (lines 859-1880 [1021 ll.])  Click here for a guide to today's discussion.  Annotated bibliography #1 DUE by 9 AM Friday.

Week 3  (2/11): "Knight's Tale" Parts 3 and 4 (lines 1881-3108 [1217 ll.]) Click here for a guide to today's discussion.  BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE! 

Week 4  (2/18):  "Miller's Prologue and Tale," "Reeve's Prologue and Tale," "Cook's Fragment" (1314 ll.)   Annotated bibliography #2 DUE by 9 AM Friday.

Week 5  (2/25): The introduction to the "Cook's Tale of Gamelyn," and the "Tale of Gamelyn,"  "Man of Law's Prologue, Tale, and Endlink" (1190 ll.) BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE!  The apocryphal (not-by-Chaucer) "Tale of Gamelyn" circulated with Chaucer's authentic CT, in some cases introduced by Renaissance editors as the tale the Cook never go to tell, until the spurious tale was removed from the Chaucer canon by C19 scholars.  The TEAMS "Introduction" to "Gamelyn" will give you a concise view of the English "outlaw tale" as something readers of Chaucer might have expected to hear from a character like the Cook.  Don't be fooled, though--the style of "Gamelyn" is not Chaucer's, and the tale makes no attempt to fit the abbreviated text all legitimate manuscripts assign to the Cook, i.e., the tale of "Perkyn revelour," the wastrel apprentice and his low-life London friends.  This is our first foray into reading the "tales of Canterbury" as a cultural production and reception by many hands other than Chaucer's.  When you think more about manuscript circulation, it will not surprise you that this eruption of popular culture into Chaucer's elite court verse occurs at the end of the "Fragment I," the first and nearly always complete manuscript segment that circulated intact in all surviving manuscripts in which it occurs.  What follows "Gamelyn"'s outlaw tale might be a tale told by the Man of Law (a lawyer?  why not?) in manuscript groups "C" and "D."  In the elder "Hengwyrt" order, and in the "A" and "B" groups, Cook's Fragment (ending with the line about its prostituted apprentice's wife) is followed by the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.  How does that make you read her first line: "Experience, though noon auctoritee / Were in this world, is right ynough for me / To speke of wo that is in mariage" (II. 1-3)?  Why might Renaissance readers, scribes, or editors might have wanted to delay her speech for a rousing tale of masculine outlaw mayhem?

Week 6 (3/4)  "Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale," "Shipman's Tale" (1716 ll.) BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE!  The "Shipman's Tale" is included here out of any medieval or Renaissance manuscript order because internal evidence in the tale suggests it was intended for a female teller, and its content (a merchant's wife deceives him with a monk and gets away with it) has been suggested as perhaps suitable for an earlier tale told by the Wife.  Note that in all surviving manuscript orders, even "Hengwyrt," "Shipman" follows "Pardoner's Tale," a moral fable of tavern rowdies who kill each other, and it is followed by "Prioress's Tale," a miracle of the Virgin.

Week 7  (3/11): "Friar's Prologue and Tale," "Summoner's Prologue and Tale" (1030 ll.)  

MIDTERM PAPER DUE as an email attachment in my inbox by the first Sunday, of Spring Break.   You can turn it in earlier, or later but please don't delay it without negotiating with me. 

Spring Break, Saturday, 3/14 through Sunday, 3/22

Week 8  (3/25): "Clerk's Prologue and Tale" (1212 ll.) and "Merchant's Prologue and Tale" (1228 ll.)    

Week 9  (4/1 ):  "Squire's Tale," "Franklin's Prologue and Tale," "Physician's Tale," (1624 ll.)  Click here for a shorter introduction to some issues relevant to these three tales.   BIB. #3 DUE by 9 AM Friday. 

          Next week will be the official start of the "early print edition report project" (for extra credit on your class participation grade).  If you want to work with these old Chaucer editions but this week is not good for you, we can negotiate a better time.  You can do the work for this in an hour or so once you have done some background reading, read this hyperlinked short page of instructions about how to handle archival materials and talked to the Special Collections Librarian about scheduling your visit to Special Collections in advance.  That will prevent schedule collisions involving these scarce materials, which will insure that the book you want will be ready when you need it.  Seniors' reports are due by the Wednesday of exam week, and returning students' reports are due by the following Friday.  Extensions for returning students can be arranged, but senior grades are due much sooner.

Week 10  (4/8): "Pardoner's Prologue and Tale," "Prioress' Prologue and Tale,"  BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE! 

Week 11 (4/15): "Chaucer-the-Pilgrim," Rime of Sir Thopas."  and "Tale of Melibee"  (1196 ll.) Arnie will cover briefly these amazingly long 922 lines of prose; then, "Monk's Prologue and Tale,"   Start of the "Early Print Editions Project."  Report due by 5/11/15  BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE! 

Week 12  (4/22):  "Nuns' Priest's Prologue and Tale" (1584 ll.)   "Second Nun's Prologue and Tale," BIB. HOLIDAY: NO ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY DUE! 

Final Paper Conferences: Sign up by sending me an email for open time slots when you could meet with me.  Please give me more than one so that I can consolidate my schedule as efficiently as possible and so that, if someone else has sent an earlier email asking for a slot you want, you will give me an alternative that works for you.  You can sign up for individual times, but I encourage you to form group conferences with one or two other students.  Much of what I have to say at this point will be general in scope and would apply to anyone writing a paper for the course.  As you listen to each other working out your ideas, it should help improve your own paper's thinking and evidence.  Before you write your final paper, take time to scan the articles annotated by your seminar the rest of the seminars I've taught.  Remember that they each offer you four more possible sources of information and potential analytical approaches which you might use to structure your own paper.  

Week 13  (4/29): "Canon's Yeoman's Prologue and Tale," (1481 ll.)   "Manciple's Prologue and Tale," BIB. #4 DUE by 9AM Thursday.   This is the end of the annotated bibliography project.  Share each other's work and give each other specific endnote credit for your use of it in your papers, and I will give the credited scholars extra credit on their final papers.  Strive to be worthy of endnote credit--be colleagues!

Week 14 (5/6): "Parson's Prologue and Tale"and "Chaucer's Retraction" (362 ll. plus the prose paragraph of the "Retraction").   Please read as much of the Parson's sermon as you can, and at least read all of the web page to get an idea of how to account for this sermon's enormous presence at the end of all complete MSS of the Canterbury Tales (1458 ll.).  What does it mean for our interpretations of Chaucer that we so often do not pay attention to CT's most serious religious passages?  What kind of interpretive gap has opened between our world's readers and readers for whom Chaucer was writing, and what can we do about it to prevent anachronistic readings of his work?  Do we even have an obligation to try to understand, or even "like" literature written for another culture's tastes?  Before you answer "no," remember what the current era's rhetoric about "inclusiveness" and "diversity" means.

Final paper pre-thinking--post to GoucherLearn and respond to each other's thoughts!  What are you studying for your final seminar paper?  Let us help you clarify and develop your thinking.  Come prepared to present your basic topic and to discuss what you are doing with it.  Ask for help with interpretive problems, finding resources to aid your research, and anything else that might make your paper better.  You don't have to take more than five or ten minutes to explain what you are doing.  It's not a formal graded presentation, but rather it's an opportunity to improve your reading and thinking before you write.  If you receive substantive aid from members of the class, please consider giving them credit in your paper's first endnote.  It's the collegial thing to do, and if your acknowledgement is specific enough, I will give extra credit to those who helped you.  You, too, could earn extra credit by helping your colleagues.  This form of collegial collaboration, as much as anything else we might devise, is the real lesson of the tales of Canterbury.  We are all pilgrims on our way to enlightenment, grateful to those who aid us.  Please remember to fill out the online course evaluations for the seminar. 

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