English 111


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2019 Ripplinger, Michelle
TuWTh 9:30-12 300 Wheeler A

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales: The Canterbury Tales (London; Penguin Edition, 2005); ISBN-13: 978-0140422344;

Recommended: Bowers, John M.: The Canterbury Tales: Fifteenth-Century Continuations and Additions (TEAMS Middle English Texts) (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1992); Herd, David and Pincus, Anna: Refugee Tales (Manchester, UK: Comma Press, 2016)

Other Readings and Media

Note: Please buy the specific editions listed.


In this course we will study The Canterbury Tales and its continuations, paying special attention to the topics of imitation, innovation, and literary influence. As we learn about the literary traditions Chaucer so deftly passes over and the literary tradition that he in turn engenders, we’ll have the chance to reconsider several assumptions about the relationship between originality and aesthetic value. Is the so-called “father” of English literature as original as we’ve been led to believe? Is imitation really so bad after all?

We begin by reading the Canterbury Tales in detail, asking what Chaucer’s collection of tales can teach us about violence, gender, religion, laughter, race, love, sex, class, and language in the fourteenth century. All topics and themes are up for grabs in this course, but we will pay special attention to how Chaucer draws on and departs from previous literary traditions. We then set out to discern Chaucer’s influence among a variety of fifteenth-century authors. We conclude by considering Chaucer’s influence now. Modern readings will include the Refugee Tales (2016) and the digital humanities Global Chaucers Project, which will allow us to explore the non-Anglophone translation history of Chaucer’s works.

The majority of the readings will be in Middle English but no previous experience is required. In addition to two literary-critical essays, you will also have the chance to craft your own continuation of the Canterbury Tales.

NOTE:  We discovered belatedly that a glitch in the enrollment system was preventing students from enrolling in this class, but that problem has now been fixed, so please try again if you were previously blocked from enrolling.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

fall, 2022



spring, 2022



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