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Chaucer's Classicisms

ENGL 525.401
W 12-3

This course takes Chaucer's uses of antiquity as a point of entry into questions about the ancient lineages of medieval literary and intellectual culture. The coverage of Chaucer's writings in relation to classical and late classical authors will be quite substantial. We will survey the medieval textual histories of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Statius, and Boethius as they materialize in specific Chaucerian sites, including: _ Troilus and Criseyde_, _Knight's Tale_, _Legend of Good Women_, _House of Fame_ (and perhaps one other dream poem), _Boece_, and _Nun's Priest's Tale_. These texts are sites for opening broader inquiries about the uses of antiquity in the Middle Ages: medieval transformations of ancient theories of narrative, of allegory and allegoresis, and of hermeneutics, translation, and invention; medieval receptions of ancient pedagogical discourses (including how classical authors were used in medieval schooling) and reconfigurations of ancient systems of knowledge; and medieval assimilations of ancient intellectual currents (Platonisms, scientific epistemologies, theories of language and signification). To these ends we will also look at various late classical expositors who mediated many of these problems to the Middle Ages, including Fulgentius, Martianus Capella, Macrobius, Priscian, and St. Augustine.

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