English | Chaucer
L305 | 2207 | Lochrie


L305 2207 LOCHRIE
Chaucer

1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3CR.

According to Umberto Eco, the author of The Name of the Rose and
more recently, Baudolino, one of the hallmarks of modernity is
that “we are dreaming the Middle Ages.”  Instead of seeing the
medieval as past, Eco considers how the postmodern means a return to
the medieval.  This course will address how the medieval might offer
a perspective on the modern and postmodern through Chaucer’s
Canterbury Tales.  Beginning with a study of Chaucer’s Middle
English, we will ask how language creates community, and how modern
English treats its own past medieval ancestor as other.  The
majority of the course will focus on the Chaucer’s grand work as a
way of complicating our ideas about medieval culture and addressing
issues that are very much in the contemporary limelight.  We will,
for example, ask how in a culture that was often defined in terms of
religious communities, Eastern, non-Christian, and pagan cultures
were viewed.  We will interrogate how Chaucer represents Islam in
The Man of Law’s Tale, what The Prioress’s Tale means in the context
of medieval anti-Semitism, and how gender, class, and sexuality
erupt among the narrators of the tale to vie for centrality.  To
help us answer these questions, we will also be reading some recent
theory along with the tales. The course will include translation
quizzes over the Middle English, two short papers, a mid-term and
final examination.