English 201b: Chaucer, The Dream Visions and Troilus and Criseyde

Prof. Maud McInerney Office Hours: 11-12 MW, Woodside 203. Phone: 896-1156

Chaucer's early poems, such as The Book of the Duchess and The House of Fame repeatedly stage moments of significant reading; the narrator reads himself to sleep and then experiences a dream vision, for instance, or comments upon the way his own reading has conditioned his interpretation and representation of the world around him. Similarly, the Trojan War epic Troilus and Criseyde is both self-conscious concerning its own status in a literate tradition (as a "rereading" of Boccaccio, Boethius or the mythical Lollius) and original in its representation of characters formed and perhaps deformed by their own practices of reading and writing. This course aims to explore these "olde books" of Chaucer's with a particular awareness of issues surrounding the representation of reading and writing at this seminal moment in the creation of an English literary consciousness.

Don't Forget: annotated bibliography due April 12; research project due April 23. For an extremely peculiar musical experience, try this link to download an MP3.

Required Texts:

  • The Riverside Chaucer. I know it's heavy and expensive, but it's the only book you have to buy for the course.
  • Packet of readings including excerpts from the Romance of the Rose
  • A variety of on-line texts. If accessing texts in this fashion is a problem for you, please let me know asap.

Required Work

  • short essays(3-5 pages)
  • 2 responses (1-2 pages) to critical writing on Chaucer, to be posted to the webforum
  • 1 longer research project, 8-10 pages or equivalent
  • Final exam
  • Attendance at all classes is required, and engaged participation in class and web discussion is expected
  • There will be various short ungraded assignments

Syllabus

Assignments

Webforum

Resources

Learning Differences

Page created January 12, 2004, by Maud McInerney