After the Norman Conquest of 1066 the English language and English literature came fully into their own in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and some of his contemporaries in the later fourteenth century. This course will concentrate on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: we will read some of the Tales and “translate” parts of them in the seminars, for which elementary Middle English grammar will be studied. In order to understand these remote texts properly, the lectures will deal with aspects of the cultural history of the Middle Ages: social structure, church and clergy, ideas about nature, love, sex, marriage, dress and food, life and death, and especially the tension between ideal and reality.
Students will acquire
1. Skills in reading and translating fourteenth-century English
2. A working knowledge of elementary Middle English grammar
3. Insight in the cultural history of the Middle Ages.
Mode of instruction
One hour lecture and one hour seminar per week.
The course load of this course is 140 hours.
hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26
time for studying the compulsory literature: 74
time to prepare for the exam: 36
Tutoring/opportunity to inspect exams: 4 hours.
Written midterm examination (30%); written final examination (70%), both of them consisting of translations and open questions.
If the final grade is 5 or less students may take the resit once and the mark of the resit will constitute 100% of the final grade.
Attendance is compulsory. Unauthorized absence will mean that you cannot take part in the relevant exam(s).
Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course, such as the weekly syllabus (from week 1, in the ‘Course Documents’) and assignments.
Benson, Larry D. ed. (2008). The Riverside Chaucer, Oxford University Press paperback.
Horobin, Simon (2013). Chaucer’s Language, Palgrave Macmillan.
Reader with background material, order via Reader Online.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
English Language and Culture student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; .firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.
Students are expected to prepare for the first class. Information about reading and assignments for week 1 is available both on Blackboard (enrollment is required) and in the Reader. From week 2 onwards the weekly syllabus will only be available on Blackboard.