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Final Examination: Monday, 19 May, 12:30-3:30 p.m., C230 Cheit (wing of Hass Business School, off Gayley Road)

Bancroft Library Visit Tuesday 8 April

Come to the Bancroft at your assigned time if possible. I'll be there, in the Krouzian Room, from 10 to 1.

When you arrive at the Bancroft, check your belongings in the locker room straight ahead and to the left as you enter the front door. Then go up the circular stair-case and look for the Krouzian Room.

Topics for Second Paper (due Wednesday, 30 April, 4:00 p.m. at the latest)

Topic 1: "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars." Discuss the self-characterization of the Wife of Bath, and her application of that characterization to women at large. Test your conclusions against the Wife of Bath's own tale, the Knight's Tale, and at least one other tale. This third tale should be one with challenges, for example the Man of Law's Tale, in which the formula which the Wife of Bath assigns to herself may not easily apply.

In short, your job is first to understand the Wife of Bath's self-analysis, and then to decide how far it can be applied to other characters in the Canterbury Tales, both male and female.

Topic 2: "Chaucer and Morality". Identify and discuss moments or entire tales in Chaucer which you find morally repugnant. Your discussion, which must involve comparisons with at least two other tales, should entail a wider discussion of the relationship between (literary) art and standards of public or private morality.

You might argue, for example, that a work of literature can be both esthetically pleasing and morally repugnant; that moral repugnance compromises or vitiates esthetic value; that standards of art and morality change over time; that standards of art and morality are universal; that value is found in the work and not in yourself as reader; or indeed you might take a position not articulated in this list.

Whatever your argument, you must work from the text, citing often and making comparisons between tales. Your arguments must be systematic and coherent, and move toward an explicit conclusion.

Chaucer Readings

Thursday, 20 March, 7-9 p.m., 2600 Buena Vista Way

Buena Vista is about 7 blocks north of Campus, connecting with Euclid (turn right one block north of Cedar) and La Loma (turn left one block north of Cedar). In case you feel it is necessary to confirm, phone 848-1992.

Topic of First Paper (due Friday, 7 March, 4:00 p.m. at the latest)

Carefully examine Criseyde's internal "dialogue," which begins on line 694 of Book II of Troilus and Criseyde. In an essay of approximately 1000 words (4 pages), consider whether this "dialogue" serves as the primary key to Criseyde's character throughout Troilus and Criseyde.

Although there is no "right" or "wrong" answer to the question, it is obvious that if you think the "dialogue" does serve as the primary key, then it is more important than any other key in the text; if it doesn't, then some other key is more important than it. Thus whichever way you argue, the essay must compare this passage to at least one other passage in the text.

See Instructions for Writing Papers

Chaucer Images

Chaucer, from Ellsmere MS, Huntington Library

The Manciple from Cambridge University Library MS


English 111                CHAUCER                     Spring 2003
Mr. Nelson                                             170 Barrows Hall
Class website:        MWF 11:00-12:00

                            Tentative Reading Schedule

NB: For Canterbury Tales: relevant introductions, and prologues
and/or epilogues are included in the reading for the day.

We Jan 22 Introduction; "Adam Scriveyn"; Language
Fr     24 Chaucer's Language (guest lecture)

Mo     27 Book of the Duchess
We     29 ditto
Fr     31 Romance of the Rose (selections)

Mo Feb 03 Troilus and Criseyde, Book I
We     05 ditto
Fr     07 Troilus and Criseyde, Book II

Mo     10 ditto
We     12 Troilus and Criseyde, Book III
Fr     14 ditto

Mo     17 Presidents' Day Holiday
We     19 Troilus and Criseyde, Book IV
Fr     21 ditto

Mo     24 Troilus and Criseyde, Book V    
We     26 ditto                               First Paper Due
Fr     28 Midterm exam

Mo Mar 03 Canterbury Tales: General Prologue
We     05 ditto
Fr     07 ditto

Mo     10 Knight's Tale
We     12 ditto
Fr     14 ditto

Mo     17 Miller's Tale
We     19 Reeve's Tale; Cook's Tale
Fr     21 Man of Law's Tale           [double-penalty for absence]


Mo     31 Wife of Bath's Prologue     [double-penalty for absence]
We Apr 02 Wife of Bath's Tale
Fr     04 Friar's Tale                          Second Paper Due

Mo     07 Summoner's Tale
We     09 Clerk's Tale
Fr     11 No class

Mo     14 Merchant's Tale**
We     16 Franklin's Tale
Fr     18 No class

Mo     21 Pardoner's Prologue and Tale**
We     23 Shipman's Tale
Fr     25 Prioress's Tale

Mo     28 Tale of Sir Thopas; Tale of Melibee   Third Paper Due
We     30 Monk's Tale, Canon's Yeoman's Tale
Fr May 02 Nun's Priest's Tale

Mo     05 Parson's Tale, Retraction
We     07 Catch-up day
Fr     09 Retrospective review

Mo     12 Final review

Final Examination: Monday, 19 May, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Notes on class business:

1) You are responsible for checking the instructor's website at least once a week for current announcements.

2) You are expected to have read each assignment in advance of the class-period in which that assignment is discussed, and to make regular contributions to class discussion.

3) You are expected to attend class regularly: attendance will be taken most days. Unexcused absences beyond three will result in a reduction in the final grade by one grade-increment (i.e. from B- to C+) for each such absence.

4) Do not miss class on the day a paper is due: missing class is a graver sin and will incur a harsher penalty than submitting a paper a day late.

5) Several Chaucer readings will be organized during the semester, late-afternoons and evenings. Although you are not required to attend, you are urged to participate in at least one reading.

6) You are reminded of the Department of English policy regarding plagiarism.

7) Final admonition: You are required to read all works assigned over the semester. The mid-term and final examinations will be designed to test whether you have done the required reading. Failure to accomplish the required reading will be grounds for a failing final grade regardless of how well you may do in other aspects of this course.

     Chaucers Wordes unto Adam, his owne Scriveyn

     Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee bifalle
     Boece or Troylus for to wryten newe,
     Under thy long lokkes thou most have the scalle.
     But after my makyng thow wryte more trewe;
     So ofte adaye I mot thy werk renewe,
     It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape,
     And al is thorugh thy negligence and rape.

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