Eng. 500-01

Fall, 1999
Monday, 6:00-9:00pm
Faculty Hall 105

Dr. Jean Lorrah
FH 7B-15
Tel. 762-4720
e-mail jean.lorrah@murraystate.edu

Office Hours:
MWF 8-8:30, 9:30-11:30
TTh 11:00-12:30
Tuesday 11:00-2:00

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Visit Dr. Lorrah's Website

Catalogue Description: A study of selections from the major works of Chaucer with some emphasis placed upon his background and language.

Visit Dr. Lorrah's Chaucer Page
Click to see Additional Requirements for Graduate Credit

Required Texts and Materials:

        The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson
        The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, ed. Murfin, Ross, and Ray


        1. To examine Chaucer’s literary themes and techniques from a variety of perspectives.
        2. To improve students' ability to read, analyze, and compare literary works, themes, and techniques, and to discuss and write about the questions they suggest.
        3. To introduce students to significant works of Chaucer and the traditions from which they emerged.

Course Objectives:
        To receive credit, a student should be able to
        1. Identify the major works of Chaucer, and be able to place them in a historical and literary context.
        2. Understand and compare themes, issues, genres, and techniques used in literature.
        3. Communicate that understanding effectively, using any modern method.
        4. Work in concert with other people.

Content Outline:

Unit One: The Canterbury Tales
8/23-10/11, Introduction, Prologue, various tales as assigned. Exam 10/11.

Unit Two: Troilus and Criseyde
10/13-12/12, Chaucer’s long, complete masterwork. Paper Due 11/22. FinalExam 12/12 6-8pm.

Throughout Semester
Group Projects
will be presented to the class as assigned, approximately one every two weeks.

Instructional Activities:

        Chaucer is so much fun, it’s a shame that all that will fit onto a syllabus is the dry outline of the course! Class activities include discussion of readings and background lectures. Only major works will be covered as a class, but all students are responsible for all the readings. Minor works will be covered in Group Projects.

Field, Clinical, and/or Laboratory Experiences:

        Students are encouraged to use the world and the Internet as their laboratory as well as the university library. All students will participate in group projects. With two fellow students, each student will do an informational and interpretive presentation on one of Chaucer’s minor works. The presentation may take the form of a written handout with graphics (the group has the responsibility of making copies for the entire class), an oral presentation with graphics (may include handouts), or a website on your choice of domain or the Murray State server.


        The library is obviously a primary resource for the work in this course, but so is the Internet. There are numerous free computer labs on campus where students may do word processing, access e-mail, work on website building, or do research on the Internet. The instructor provides her own website, and may occasionally provide audio or video material in class.

Written Work:

        Exams will be at least 50% essay, and there is a Term Paper of 2000 words (no graphics) required of all students. Some groups may choose to have papers (with graphics) as their Group Projects, while websites on the kinds of topics we are working on will obviously include a good deal of text.

Attendance Policy:

        Obviously you will want to attend all class meetings. This is a 500-level course for English majors and minors, and other students interested in Chaucer. There is no specific penalty for absences; you penalize yourself by missing lectures and discussion. Exam questions come from discussion and group projects as well as readings and lectures. Attendance does affect grades.

College of Humanistic Studies Statement on Academic Integrity

Makeup Policy:
        Papers drop 10 points per day that they are late (that is per day, not per class meeting—a paper due Monday, turned in Friday, has lost 40 points). The next day begins at the end of each class meeting. If members of your group project cannot be trusted to come to class the day you present, make your project a handout or a website. Talk to me (telephone, e-mail) before you miss an exam, not afterward. I am very easy about making arrangements for any sensible reason as long as you let me know ahead of time. After you miss, you must provide evidence of illness, hospitalization, or some equal emergency in order to make up the exam. Oversleeping is not an emergency. Your roommate's emergency is not your emergency.

Grading Procedures:
        Papers and Group Projects earn up to 100 points, calculated as follows: Idea 10, Thesis 10, Content 20, Organization 20, Mechanics 20, Clarity 10, Originality 10. All three students in a Group Project earn the same grade, whatever the project earned.
You have the opportunity to earn 400 points in this course, as follows:

  2 exams @ 100 200
  Term Paper @ 100 100
  Group Project @ 100 100
  TOTAL 400

350+ A        240+ D
325+ B        Below 240 E
290+ C

Click to see Additional Requirements for Graduate Credit

More detailed information:

Group Projects

How Papers are Graded


If you are taking 500-level courses and have not arranged a regular and reliable means of obtaining Internet access, it is time to do so. The university computer labs are available all over campus a variety of hours every day. If you plan to use the university degree you are working toward, you need to be familiar with this common resource. Free e-mail via Juno is available in West Kentucky, as is Web access at reasonable cost from a variety of sources. So if a home computer is your only access, not upgrading to one that can access the Internet is a false economy.

Sources for Help

About Chaucer at Librarius
The Chaucer Metapage
Take a Tour of Canterbury Cathedral
Essential Chaucer
ELF edition of The Canterbury Tales
Library of Congress Citations for Chaucer
ChaucerNet, a mailing list for students and teachers of Chaucer.
Here is a page with many useful Chaucer links.
A Timeline of Chaucer's Life
If you have a sound card, listen to14th Century Music at this site.
The Medieval Review
Roget's Thesaurus
Elements of Style
Guide to Grammar and Writing
Here is a poor example of page about Chaucer turned up by a search engine. You can certainly do better than this one!

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