English 113B - Spring, 2022

Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

Class Information

Instructor: Waters, Claire
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: 1150 Hart
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Chaucer?s last major work is also his most famous, for its lively variety of voices and characters, its humor, its range of genres and literary styles, which suggest why the Tales are still producing responses from contemporary authors six hundred years later. We will read a substantial selection of the Tales in their original Middle English (with plenty of practice!), thinking about how the Canterbury Tales reflect on the literary traditions Chaucer inherited and the social world of late fourteenth-century England. We will also read modern critical takes on Chaucer and his works as well as responses to and reworkings of the Tales by contemporary writers.


Two close reading exercises (short papers): 25%
In-class and online Middle English practice: 20%
Section attendance and participation: 10%
Midterm: 10%
Final paper: 20%
Final exam: 15%


The Norton Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. David Lawton