Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Topics in Chaucer

ENGL 225.301
T 2-5

Chaucer's tales are read today,of course and much is lost of the oral/aural act of enunciation and utterance, the very situation in which the tale-tellers find themselves, albeit fictionally. Indeed they are speaking before the assembly of pilgrims and moreover they are competing for the best tale. This dialogic aspect appears more clearly when Chaucer's texts are read aloud in class, recapturing most probably the way in which literature of Chaucer's own time was absorbed. Howevwe, the idea is not to recreate the incipient audience of the court and the rising bourgeoisie but to be aware of the theatrical tradition of the English Mystery Plays, which forms the dramatized spine of much of the dialogue in the tales, as well as in their extraordinary narrative techniques. We shall read a great number of the Canterbury Tales as well as some mystery plays to become fully aware of this tradition within the tales themselves.

fulfills requirements