LITEN 107 Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (924353)
MWF 10:00-10:50 WLH 2115
Professor Lisa Lampert-Weissig;
LIT 347; (858) 822-0204.  Website:  
Text: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann.  Penguin, 2005.

Course Requirements:
Middle English Reading Session: Pass/Fail
Thinksheets: 20%
Quizzes: 20%
Essay: 20%
Class Participation: 10%
Final Exam: 30% Format TBA           

Tentative Schedule of Readings and Assignments:
It is expected that you will consult the notes for in the Mann edition of Chaucer. I may assign supplemental secondary readings as needed throughout the semester. 
Reading assignments may be moved or modified depending on the pace of the course.
Week One: Jan. 8, 10, 12
Mon. Introduction
Wed. General Prologue
Thinksheet:  For your first thinksheet, please translate lines 118-126 of the GP.  For translations, it’s okay to write by hand.  Please skip lines and leave me enough space to correct your translation and give feedback.
Fri. General Prologue.  Thinksheet.  Translate lines 739-746 of the GP.

Week Two: No Monday, Jan. 17, 19
Wed. General Prologue.  Thinksheet Translate lines 853-858 of GP.
Fri. The Knight’s Tale. Books I and II. Thinksheet. For Friday, Jan 19, please answer question 1.

Week Three: Jan. 22, 24, 26
Mon.  The Knight’s Tale Books III and IV.  Thinksheet For Mon., Jan 22, please answer question 4.
Wed. The Miller’s Tale.  Thinksheet Thinksheet question: How does the Miller "quite" the Knight?
Fri.No class today. Time will be made up through individual reading appointments starting Wk. 5.

Week Four:  Jan 29, 31 and Feb. 2
Mon. The Man of Law’s Introduction, Prologue, Tale and Epilogue (Quiz One taken from MLT)  No thinksheet.

Study questions for MLT
Wed. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale Thinksheet
Fri. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale Thinksheet

Week Five: Feb. 5, 7, 9
Mon.The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale No thinksheet
Wed. The Friar’s Prologue and Tale and The Summoner’s Tale Prologue and Tale No thinksheet (Quiz Two) Study questions. Quiz will be from today's readings, so be sure to read them even though there is no thinksheet
Fri. Clerk’s Prologue and Tale Study/thinksheet questions.

Week Six: Feb. 12, 14, 16
Mon. The Franklin’s Tale (Quiz Three)        No Thinksheet Study questions
Wed. The Merchant’s Prologue, Tale and Epilogue Thinksheet
Fri. The Pardoner’s Introduction, Prologue and Tale No thinksheet. Study questions

Week Seven:  No class Monday, Feb. 21, 23
Mon. President’s Day.  No Class.
Wed. The Pardoner’s Introduction, Prologue and Tale Thinksheet Lampert-Weissig essay on Pardoner
Fri. The Shipman’s Tale.  No thinksheet.  (Quiz Four)

Study and thinksheet questions for Shipman and Prioress

Week Eight: Feb. 26, 28 and March 2
Mon. The Prioress’s Prologue and Tale Thinksheet.
Wed. The Prioress
Fri: Sir Thopas Link and Sir Thopas Thinksheet question: Why does Chaucer assign his avatar such a "drasty" tale?

Week Nine: March 5, 7, 9

Mon. The Thopas Melibee Link and the Tale of Melibee Thinksheet
Wed. The Second Nun’s Prologue and Tale  Thinksheet
Fri.The Nun’s Priest’s Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue.  Thinksheet

Week Ten:  March 12, 14, 16
No thinksheets this week.   Review and catch-up.
Mon. Final Papers due at the beginning of class. The Nun’s Priest’s Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue.
Wed. Review.  Parson’s Prologue and Tale (selections), and Chaucer’s “Retraction.”  Thinksheet
Fri. Review. 

Final exam

Final exam time in schedule of classes:  




Take home exam due Friday by March 23, 10:59 am (questions distributed week 10; submission details TBA). 

Middle English Reading Session:  In order to PASS this class you must meet with me and demonstrate to me that you have some facility in Middle English.  This will consist of reading some passages (approx. 10 lines) out loud.  One will be prepared and one chosen by me during the appt.  The reading is not graded. I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect evidence that you will have been working with the language and can read aloud and translate with the facility necessary to do the course assignments.  If necessary, I will ask you to repeat this session until I’m satisfied with your ability to read Chaucer in the original.  Recordings of Chaucer in Middle English are available online (Links).  And, of course, I’m happy to help you with your Middle English reading or any additional questions during office hours.
The reading sessions will be made by appt.  It is your responsibility to make your appt. on time. If you fail to be punctual or you fail to show up you will be wasting my time as well as that of your classmates.  Consequently, you’ll be lowering your course participation grade.  Any resulting make-up will have to be made during my regular office hours.
Quizzes: These quizzes are designed to test translation ability and reading comprehension.  There are four quizzes built into the syllabus (see schedule for dates). I reserve the right to give pop quizzes if I feel they are necessary to help us with readings/discussions.
Attendance: Attendance is expected.  Poor attendance can lower your grade.
Deadlines: I consider being able to meet a deadline to be an important part of written assignments.  For that reason, and in the interest of fairness to students who do meet deadlines, the consequences of submitting late work are severe.  Exact instructions regarding papers and deadlines will be detailed on the paper topic handout, but late papers will lose at least one full grade per day late and may not receive comments.  Papers left in my mailbox or at my office door are left at the student’s own risk and students are responsible for making frequent computer backups as they write the paper. Only documented legitimate medical or personal emergencies will excuse late work. If an emergency arises, you must let me know as soon as possible and I will do my best to accommodate your needs.  It is your responsibility to keep me informed, and, indeed, I can’t help you if I don’t know that there is a problem.      
Think Sheets:  Think sheets are response papers designed to stimulate discussion and help students engage with the works we are reading. During class I will ask a question or assign a topic for the thinksheet.
If you miss the thinksheet topic, consult the course website.  Unless otherwise specified, the thinksheets will usually be about 3/4 to 1 double-spaced typed page.  Thinksheets must be typed.  Emailed thinksheets are not acceptable. 
For the first two weeks of class everyone needs to do a thinksheet assignment, since they will focus on translation.  After that you will be assigned a group and turn in a thinksheet on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, depending on your group. 
I have really been impressed with the thinksheets that students write, and, after an entire semester, they add up to quite a bit of writing. In recognition of this, when you enroll in this class you start out with an A on your thinksheets.  I will comment on your thinksheets and try to give you feedback to what you have written, but I won’t grade the thinksheets in the same rigorous way in which I will evaluate your formal paper.  If your thinksheets show effort and engagement with the assignment, you will maintain the A that you will have earned by working on these thinksheets throughout the semester.
 “How do I know my thinksheets are up to par?”:   If I determine that your thinksheets do not show the kind of effort that I expect or if there seem to be other problems, I will inform you in my comments on the thinksheet and ask you to meet with me to discuss improvement.  If I request a meeting with you, it is your responsibility to come to office hours or otherwise arrange to discuss your thinksheets in order to maintain full credit.
“What if I miss a thinksheet?”:  You are allowed to miss three thinksheets for whatever reason.  If you miss thinksheets because you added the course after the first day, then those missed thinksheets will count toward your missed three. Beyond that, only documented medical excuses or documented personal emergencies will excuse a late thinksheet.  It is your responsibility to inform me about such emergencies as soon as it is possible for you to do so.  If you do not contact me in a timely fashion, it may not be possible to make up the work.  Thinksheets are due at the beginning of class. Without a documented excuse, late thinksheets will not be accepted and will be deducted from your thinksheet grade at the end of the semester.  I will keep track of your thinksheets in my grade roster, but mistakes can and happen.  Please hold on to all of your graded thinksheets until you receive your final grade. Vacation plans and extracurricular activities are never an excuse for missed or late work.
“What is late work?”: Sometimes there’s just something that keeps a person from getting to class on time.  What I want to avoid is disruptions to the class by habitual late entrances and the abuse of the system of thinksheets.  If I think you are having a problem with getting the thinksheets in on time, I will inform you promptly and we will discuss how you can avoid losing full credit for your work and attendance. It will be your responsibility to follow up on meeting with me about this. Disability Accommodation:  If you need disability accommodations, please let me know right away so we can work with OSD to facilitate your success in the class.

Disability Accommodation:  If you need disability accommodations, please let me know right away so we can work with OSD to facilitate your success in the class.

Laptops in class.  Studies have shown that laptops can hinder classroom learning.  Laptops can be a boon to those who have learning challenges, such as a disability, and I will therefore not ban them from my classroom.  I recommend, however, that if you can, you avoid using them in class.
Academic Integrity: The University’s policy on Academic Integrity can be found here:  Reading through this policy will supplement our discussion of academic integrity in class.  If you ever have any questions regarding this policies please contact me and we can go through them together. 
Here are my learning outcome goals for my students in LTEN 107 and some information on how I assess these outcomes.  Please note that much more detailed standards and expectations will be handed out with the essay/review assignment and final take-home exam in the coming weeks.

  1. Gain an understanding of the development of the English language by learning how to understand Middle English.  This skill will be assessed through the four translation quizzes and the pass/fail individual reading appt.
  2. Gain knowledge about the contents of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, one of the foundational texts in medieval Literature and in the Anglophone traditions.  This knowledge will include the ability to identify medieval literary genres and medieval poetic form and an understanding of the influence of cultural and religious contexts on this content.  This knowledge will be assessed through the think sheets, the essay assignment, and the final take-home exam. 
  3. Be able to analyze the workings of literary satire and how satire can function as cultural critique.  This ability will be assessed through the final take-home exam.
  4. Be able to identify the central aim of a work of published, peer-reviewed scholarship on a medieval topic related to the course and explain that thesis and what you have learned from it in concise, clear prose.  This ability will be assessed through the essay assignment.
  5. Be able to make a persuasive interpretive argument about the contents of The Canterbury Tales and put forth this argument in clear, concise prose. This ability will be assessed through the final take-home exam. 
  6. Gain an understanding of the continuing impact of the medieval period on the present day. This understanding will be assessed through the thinksheets, essay, and final.