Aside from being the best known medieval English author, Chaucer was also the one with the best sense of humor, and this course will give you ample opportunity to appreciate that humor--often bawdy, sometimes indecent, frequently witty--as we read various of his texts. We will read the bulk of The Canterbury Tales and the very strange House of Fame, as well as segments of The Book of the Duchess and Troilus and Criseyde. The diversity of genres, meters, and styles that Chaucer uses mark his effort to make English a legitimately literary language. Chaucer's self-consciousness about this project and his interest in mocking some of the popular poetic and intellectual trends of his day make his literature particularly fruitful for modern readers. As we investigate Chaucer's social, religious, and political commentaries, we will also become very familiar with Chaucer's use and development of Middle English. Requirements include dutiful fulfillment of all reading assignments, two papers, and the occasional quiz.