Chaucer and the Birth of the Author

Subject 670-329 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 points of first-year English.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Stephanie Trigg

Subject Overview:

This subject explores the complex role of the vernacular writer in medieval society, amid changes in the late medieval conception of authorship. The works of Geoffrey Chaucer (The Canterbury Tale and other earlier poems) will be our main focus, but we will also consider the work of other medieval writers, and some of Chaucer's contemporaries and followers, across a range of genres, from romance to spiritual narrative and political satire. This subject will introduce students to reading Middle English, but several texts will also be read in Modern English translation.

Objectives: students will have developed a reading knowledge of Middle English;
understand some of the social and literary contexts in which late medieval English literature is produced;
appreciate the implications of Chaucer's early reception for the subsequent establishment of the English poetic canon;
be familiar with some of the work of Chaucer's contemporaries.

One essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and one essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of the semester).

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Arthurian Romances (Chretien de Troyes, trans. William Kibler & Carleton Carroll)
  • The Riverside Chaucer (Chaucer, ed. Larry Benson)
  • The Book of Margery Kempe (Chaucer, trans. Barry Windeatt)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Chaucer, ed & tran. W.R.J. Barron & S.H. Rigby)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.


Formerly 106-053 Chaucer and the Canon. Students who have completed 106-053 Chaucer and the Canon are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient, Medieval && Early Modern Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major

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