Chaucer: Comedy, Calamity and
Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Sue Niebrzydowski
Overall aims and purpose
To introduce students to a range of Chaucer’s works.
To study the relationship of these texts to their historical and cultural contexts.
To analyse Chaucerian works of different genres.
To introduce students to the range of critical opinion concerning Chaucer’s works and enable participation in the ongoing critical discussion of these texts.
This module examines a selection of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the fathers of English literature. The module will focus on the creative use that Chaucer makes of medieval traditions of comedy and tragedy, two modes that Chaucer often juxtaposes in the same work. Through an analysis of selected tales from the Canterbury Tales, alongside The House of Fame, The Book of the Duchess, Troilus and Criseyde, and selections from his Legend of Good Women, Chaucer’s literary accomplishments will be investigated, with the aim of understanding his place in the English canon. During the seminars you will have the opportunity to discuss medieval theories of comedy and tragedy, and a range of themes and motifs employed in Chaucer’s work, as well as his extraordinary versatility in tackling different literary genres. The diversity of modern theoretical approaches to Chaucer’s work will also be reflected in the seminar programme. This module is an ideal companion to any of the other level three medieval literature modules.
Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:
• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production
Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium
Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
have an informed sense of the overall development of Chaucerian verse and its complexities.
Have a detailed knowledge of a significant selection of Chaucer’s major works.
analyse and evaluate the literary quality of these works
The ability to situate these works in their various socio-historical contexts.
Posses an informed knowledge of a range of differing interpretations of these works which are then applied, as appropriate, to the student’s own assessment of Chaucer’s work.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
One two-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks One one-hour study group per week for 11 weeks
During your private study, students will be expected to read the primary texts and relevant secondary critical works.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 2.1; 2.2; 3.1.3; 3.1.7; 3.1.11; 3.2.8).
- Command of a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical terminology (English Benchmark Statement 3.1.9; 3.2.6).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis and the ability to acquire substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way involving the use of the distinctive interpretative skills of the subject (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.2; 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.3.3; 3.3.5; 3.3.8; 3.3.12; 3.3.13).
- Rhetorical skills of effective communication and argument, both oral and written (English Benchmark Statement 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.5; 3.3.1; 3.3.6).
- The ability to work with and in relationship to others through the presentation of ideas and information and the collective negotiation of solutions (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 3.3.10).
- Sensitivity to generic conventions and to the shaping effects upon communication of circumstances, authorship, textual production and intended audience (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.8; 2.3.; 3.1.2; 3.2.3).
- The capacity for independent thought and judgement; the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories and to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.2; 3.3.1; 3.3.7; 3.3.11).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of texts (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.2.1; 3.3.8; 3.3.12).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.6).
- Conceptual skills developed by demonstration and discussion. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.2; 3.3.14; 3.3.17; 3.3.18; 3.3.19).
- Study skills in researching concepts and contexts by directed reading. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.22; 3.3.23).
- The ability to express ideas clearly in discussion and in organised written form. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.5; 3.2.7; 3.3.11; 3.3.15; 3.3.16; 3.3.21; 3.3.24).
- The ability to analyse texts, using appropriate critical terminology. ( English Benchmark Statement 3.1.8; 3.2.1; 3.2.6; 3.3.12).
- Translation skills (Middle English).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work; bibliographic skills, including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions in the presentation of scholarly work and the ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style; making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.7; 3.3.4; 3.3.6; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmark 6.1.7).
- Broad knowledge of a range of texts, genres, aesthetic forms and cultural practices, and the ability to produce close analysis of these and of the uses and implications of these approaches; an understanding of particular media forms and genres, and the way in which they organize understandings, meanings and affects (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.1; 3.1.1; 3.1.2; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmarks 4.1.5; 8.2.5).
- Bibliographic skills appropriate to the discipline, including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions in the presentation of scholarly work.
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
Resource implications for students
Students are required to purchase only one volume for this module: The Riverside edition of the *Complete Works of Chaucer.*
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/qxe-3080.html
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- W890: BA Creative&Professional Writing year 3 (BA/CPW)
- 2P78: BA English Lit with Creative Writing with International Exp year 4 (BA/ECI)
- Q310: BA Eng Lit with Eng Lang year 3 (BA/ELEL)
- 3QV1: BA History and English Literature year 3 (BA/ELH)
- 09V3: BA English Literature and Italian year 4 (BA/ELI)
- 3YT5: BA English Literature and Spanish year 4 (BA/ELIS)
- 065C: BA English Literature with Journalism year 3 (BA/ELJ)
- 1Q3Q: BA Linguistics and English Literature year 3 (BA/ELL)
- QQC3: BA English Lang and Lit year 3 (BA/ELLIT)
- 32N6: BA English Literature and Music year 3 (BA/ELM)
- 32M8: BA English Literature with Theatre and Performance year 3 (BA/ELTP)
- M3Q9: BA English Literature and Criminology and Criminal Justice year 3 (BA/ENC)
- 2P17: BA English Literature and Creative Writing year 3 (BA/ENCW)
- Q3Q2: BA English Language w English Lit year 3 (BA/ENGEL)
- 8H25: BA English Literature year 3 (BA/ENGL)
- 2D13: BA English Literature with Creative Writing year 3 (BA/ENGLC)
- 8H26: BA English Literature (with International Experience) year 4 (BA/ENIE)
- 06CD: BA French and English Literature year 4 (BA/FEL)
- 3P3Q: BA Film Studies and English Literature year 3 (BA/FSEL)
- 3N7S: BA German and English Literature year 4 (BA/GEL)
- Q1Q3: BA Ling with Eng Lit year 3 (BA/LEL)
- T124: BA English Literature & Chinese year 4 (BA/LITCH)
- 3HPQ: BA Media Studies and English Literature year 3 (BA/MEN)
- 3VQV: BA Philosophy and Religion and English Literature year 3 (BA/PREN)
- 3L3Q: BA Sociology and English Literature year 3 (BA/SEL)
- Q2W9: MArts English Literature with Creative Writing year 3 (MARTS/ELCW)
- Q320: MArts English Literature year 3 (MARTS/ELIT)