E460 – Chaucer

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Prerequisite: E 341 and one other upper-division E prefix course.

Description: As one of the Department’s designated capstone courses, E460 is taken late in the student’s program and is intended to provide a synthesis of the discipline. Readings span Chaucer’s literary career, consisting of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy (in modern translation rather than in Chaucer’s Middle English version), Book of the Duchess, Parliament of Fowls, Troilus and Criseyde, selections from the Legend of Good Women and the short poems, and eighteen or more selections from The Canterbury Tales. Students are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between Chaucer’s life and works and between the works and specific political, social, and cultural dynamics of the medieval period, to think about how Chaucer’s works develop over time, to reflect on genre as meaning, to read closely, and to apply a variety of critical and interpretive methodologies to the text. As a transition from the classroom to independent scholarly activity, this course and in particular its term paper requires students to demonstrate capabilities in close reading, in interpretive formulation, in research, and in written argumentation.