English 401: Chaucer--Discussion Questions
Week 1 September 20th
Th: Introduction to the course. Introduction to Chaucer. Historical background, etc. For Tuesday, read the Introduction in the Riverside, noting especially the sections on language and versification, and Chapter One of the Chaucer Companion—“The social and literary scene in England.”


Week 2: September 24th
T Background to Chaucer—social, literary, linguistic and cultural. Model of the universe, religion and religious controversy, social strata, courtly love, genres of poetry, etc. For Thursday, read The Book of the Duchess, and chapter 3 of the companion book, “Old books brought to life in dreams.”
Th The Book of the Duchess. Permanent assignment to study groups today—introductions and small group discussion. Open class discussion.

Discussion question:The simplest possible question: you may ask any question, including "what is going on?" or make any observation.

Link to the discussion board.


Week 3: October 1st
T The Book of the Duchess.
Th The Book of the Duchess. For Tuesday, read The Parliament of Fowls, possibly small selections of reserve material on courtly love.

Question: Pretend you are at a medieval entertainment, and that someone has just finished reading Chaucer's poem. Begin with the implied question upon love that the poem ends with, and continue the discussion in the direction of the nature of love (keep it courtly).

Link to the discussion board.


Week 4: October 8th
T The Parliament of Fowls. The court, courtly love, and the domande d’amour, medieval romance, influence of poets such as Marie de France and Chretien des Troyes.
Th Professor at conference.

Discussion question.

Link to the discussion board


Week 5: October 15th
T. The Parliament of Fowls.
Th The Parliament of Fowls, and preparation for midterm.


Week 6: October 22nd
T Midterm.
Th Beginning of Canterbury Tales—General Prologue. Discussion of Boccaccio, frame narrative, and the genres in the poem

Discussion question: What sort of associations do you have with the word "romance," and does it bear any resemblance to the romances in Canterbury Tales?

Link to the discussion board


Week 7 October 29th
T.CT, Fragment A. Knight’s Tale, ch. 7 of companion.
Th Fragment A—Miller’s Tale, etc.

Discussion Question:

Link to the discussion board


Week 8: November 5th
T Finish Fragment A—Miller’s Tale and Reeve’s Tale. Ch. 8 of companion, on comedy.
Th. “Marriage Group”—Wife of Bath’s Tale. Translation paper due.


Week 9 November 12th
T Wife of Bath’s Tale and Clerk’s Tale. Chapter 9 of Companion—on pathos.
Th Merchant’s Tale.

Discussion question:

Link to the discussion board


Week 10: November 19th
T Merchant’s Tale, Franklin’s Tale—ch. 10, exemplum and fable.
Th Thanksgiving: no school.


Week 11: November 26th

T Finish the “Marriage Group” tales. Pardoner’s Tale. Criticism paper due.
Th Pardoner’s Tale.


Exam: Thursday, December 6th, 11:30-1:30 pm.

Chaucer Course Page.

Dr. Aaron's Course Page.

Dr. Aaron's Home Page.

maaron@csupomona.edu