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We will study Chaucer's romances in Middle English. After spending a little time getting used to pronouncing Chaucer's dialect of Middle English, we will concentrate on a substantial selection of stories from the Canterbury Tales as well as his masterpiece, Troilus and Criseyde. While to some extent isolating the romances, we will also seek to understand the manuscript contexts in which they are preserved and the way modern editors have passed them on to us. Some of your work will take place on this website, which provides ready access to electronic versions of all the texts we will be reading, online resources of everything from audio pronunciation guides to comprehensive bibliographies, and a class listserv, ENG421-L@LSV.UKY.EDU, to let you discuss online anything related to the course with members of the class. (Note: because many internet "service" providers are not reliably delivering e-mail from listservs, I urge you to use your UK e-mail address for the list. Otherwise you will have no valid excuse for not receiving e-mail through the course listserv.)

Required texts: The Riverside Chaucer, Third Edition, edited by Larry D. Benson (Houghton Mifflin, 1987). We will also use the electronic versions available through Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia Library

Revised class requirements:

On 7 February, the class voted unanimously to change from two term exams and a final to TWO TERM RESEARCH REPORTS (5 pages apiece) and A FINAL RESEARCH PAPER (at least 10 pages long).  Although two-member teams will collaborate on the research of specific manuscripts, each student must submit independent, well-written, research reports, the results of personal reflection on your collaboration.

Daily attendance is still of course mandatory (if you have an excused absence, you must make up the missed class with a short written assignment). You earn your final grade by active participation in class and in online discussions (25 percent); several 1-page written assignments arising from class discussions (15 percent); two term research reports (20 percent each); and the final research report (20 percent). The final paper is due no later than Tuesday, 30 April 2002, the date of our scheduled final exam.

Research Projects

Your collaborative research reports on the manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales are now available on a restricted site. Click HERE to go to the sign-in page.


Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. The Canterbury tales :
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Conditions of Use

| The entire work (1320 KB) | Table of Contents for this work |
| All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |
  • Fragment 1
  • Fragment 2
  • Fragment 3
  • Fragment 4
  • Fragment 5
  • Fragment 6
  • Fragment 7
    • SubSection The Host's Interruption of the Tale of Sir Thopas
  • Fragment 8
  • Fragment 9
  • Fragment 10
  • Troilus and Criseyde:
  • Book One - The double sorwe
  • Book Two - The weder ginneth clere
  • Book Three - O blisful light
  • Book Four - But al to litel
  • Book Five - The fatal destinee

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