Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Special Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

Module Q3196B

Module details for 2016/17.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

It is almost impossible to understand English literature without an understanding of Chaucer. His works provide us with a range of subjects, modes of literary representation and styles that not only enable us to understand literary culture in the late Middle Ages but determine the subsequent course of English literature. In Dryden's inaugural work of literary history, The Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700), Chaucer is described as the father of English poetry: it is his soul that is 'transfused' into Spenser, Spenser's into Milton, and so on, and it is with his poetry that the refinement of English language begins. This module will explore some of the great works of Chaucer in depth, looking at a broad spectrum of the tales making up The Canterbury Tales, several of his dream vision poems, as well as some of his ballads and lyrics. It will also consider the place of Chaucer in literary history and the formation of the Chaucerian canon, as well as something of the fragility and instability of that canon. A variety of themes and subjects will be explored: marriage, gender and sexual relations; fate and foreknowledge; dreams and their significance; Chaucer's literary theory; ideas of authority and authorship; religion and the nature of religious experience in the late fourteenth century.

As part of this module, we will visit Canterbury (the destination of Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales), where students will be given a guided tour. They will learn how a medieval city was organised; the nature of everyday life in the Middle Ages; the significance of religion, religious buildings and institutions, all of which will aid their understanding of Chaucer's place in the English Middle Ages.

Students will develop competence in reading and analysing Middle English. Support will be offered in acquiring and developing the basic skills needed to do this.

Module learning outcomes

Understand the formal and generic developments of a named author's work.

Understand how the work has been shaped by the social, historical and intellectual contexts in which it was produced

Through critical analysis of a range of the author's writing over his/her career, demonstrate an understanding of how his/her literary reputation was established and has been maintained

Organise complex material into an essay that illustrates independent research

TypeTimingWeighting
Coursework100.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayA1 Week 1 100.00%
Timing

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.

Weighting

Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterFieldwork8 hours001000000000
Autumn SemesterSeminar3 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Chloe Porter

Assess convenor
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/308365

Dr Katie Walter

Convenor
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/307825

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