Spring Semester 1999. English 12 - 160
Studies in Chaucer
Tuesday / Thursday 1:30 pm
Brother Anthony (An Sonjae)

This course introduces some of Chaucer's writings. All the lectures, class presentations, and reports will be in English.

The main text book for the course will be Brother Anthony's Literature in English Society Part 1: The Middle Ages (Sogang University Press). Texts of some Tales will be found in the First Volume of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, 5th or 6th editions or they can all be downloaded and printed through the links below. Students may prepare for class by reading a translation but during the class they must have the Middle English text and not be looking at a translation.

Week 1 Introduction to the Middle Ages and Chaucer
Week 2 The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (Introduction) (Text with notes) (Hear it being read)
Week 3  (continued)
Week 4  The Knight's Tale (Full text) (Abbreviated text for class)
Week 5  (continued) (Easter: no class Thursday)
Week 6  The Miller's Tale (Introduction) (Text)
Week 7  (continued)
Week 8  Mid-term Exams
Week 9   The Nun's Priest's Tale (Introduction) (Text) (Article)
Week 10  (continued)
Week 11  The Wife of Bath : Prologue and Tale
Week 12  (continued)
Week 13  The Clerk : Prologue and Tale
Week 14  (continued)
Week 15  (Final Exams begin Thursday)

Teaching Method

Lectures 60%, small-group discussion 30%, class presentations 10%.


In addition to Brother Anthony's Literature in English Society Part 1: The Middle Ages (Sogang University Press), students may find  the Norton Anthology of English Literature Part 1 helpful. Students are strongly encouraged to read most of Brother Anthony's book during the winter vacation, in preparation, especially the chapter dealing with Chaucer in his European context (pages 115 - 154). Parts of Brother Anthony's Home Page may  be of help: especially one with an introduction to Chaucer (including the Canterbury Tales) and one with a variety of materials about some other medieval texts. Any student really interested will also explore the resources listed on his Medieval Resources page.

Major Topics

* The social and moral questions underlying the portraits in the General Prologue.
* The influence of Boethius (Consolation of Philosophy) and the question of destiny and human freedom in the Knight's Tale.
* The contrast between the idealized love of the Knight's Tale and the frankly physical passion of the Miller's Tale.
The confusing rhetoric of the Nun's Priest's Tale and the question of how an audience is helped to find the 'moral' of a story.
* The anti-feminist attitude to women expressed in (or challenged in) the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale and in the Clerk's Tale, compared to the role of Alison in the Miller's Tale


Each student will prepare a Scrapbook with pictures and (handwritten) text about the society and culture of England in the 14th century for the midterm examination. In addition, by the Midterm Exam, each student will write a report about the some of the main portraits in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in relation to social realities of the time.

Each student will prepare a final report of some length, discussing the main themes of three of the Tales we study, treating each Tale separately before a final section comparing their treatment of the main themes.


In addition to the above assignments, there will be a midterm and a final examination. Each exam and report will be of equal importance, the Scrapbook too.