Instructor: Dr. Rick McDonald
Office Phone: 863-8365
Office: CB41OG Office Hours: MWF 1:00-2:15 pm,
and by appt.
Section: ENGL 4620 Time: MW
2:30-3:45 Room: LA 229
Kolve, V.A. ed. The Canterbury Tales Fifteen
Tales and the General Prologue: Authoritative Text
Sources and Background Criticism. 2nd
Edition. Norton Critical Editions. 2005.
Shoaf, R.A. Troilus and Criseyde. Michigan State
University Press. 2000.
Rob Pope. How to Study Chaucer. 2nd edition. New
York: St. Martin’s, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0333762837
E Texts and audio files from Canvas Course Page.
~ Listening to
Audio will help with your Middle English Reading.
Useful But Not Required texts:
Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. (any
edition) I suggest Richard Green’s 1962
MacMillan Publication . ISBN:0-023-4650-X
Successful Students will:
• Analyze the meaning of
Middle English texts by Geoffrey Chaucer for their cultural,
political, sociological and/or historical influences.
• Identify and define important
literary terms and trends pertinent to the writing of
Chaucer as exhibited within The Canterbury Tales and Troilus
• Develop and articulate
interpretations through multipoint arguments supported by
general literary terminology and secondary sources.
• Read and Understand literature in
simple Middle English
ABOUT THE COURSE
We will be reading selections from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury
Tales and some background source material for this class.
Additionally we will be studying what many scholars consider to
be Chaucer’s masterwork: Troilus and Criseyde. For each
class period there will be some reading in Middle English and
some reading of source information in Modern English. We
will study Chaucer’s poetry and discuss cultural, social,
political, and linguistic issues relevant to its
development. You will be expected to do some short
translations of his writing and read two short sections of the
work aloud. During the semester, we will practice the
research skills required for supporting scholarly arguments
about Chaucer’s texts.
METHODS OF EVALUATION
We will have three short translation quizzes where the student
has 10-15 minutes to translate and discuss a 10-20 line segment
of Chaucer’s poetry previously read for class.
Oral Middle English Reading
Each student will select two 10-30 line segments of Chaucer’s
poetry to read aloud to the professor or class as a whole.
Each of you will write at least one, two-page summary of a
source chosen by you and approved by me. You will be
expected to provide a short 5-10 minute presentation about your
source, in which you summarize it and discuss its relevance to
works we have read. You should create and distribute a
handout or power point for the class.
Short Research Papers:
As I hope to make research an important element of this
class. We will write two short research papers (5-7 pages,
2000-word minimum) using MLA format. These papers should
investigate a text from the course using multiple secondary
sources to support a thesis of your choosing.
Group Creative Project:
Each student will participate in a group presentation that
creatively brings to life some element of medieval life or
literature. Suggestions and specifications for the
presentations will be discussed in class. The
presentations should be a minimum of 10 minutes in length.
You will be expected to write a few short essays concerning
topics discussed throughout the course during the final exam.
The goal of this course is to familiarize you with the most
popular works of one of the English language’s most influential
writers. You should be able to read Middle English Poetry
and Prose quite easily by the end of the class and understand
how cultural, political, and social factors affected literary
works of the High Middle Ages in England. It should equip
you with a general knowledge of the research skills that you can
use to understand later literary periods or to focus your study
of literature on specific early works and writers which interest
LATE WORK AND REWRITES
I accept late work. For late work, you will receive a
grade deduction for each day the paper is late. I also
will allow you to rewrite the shorter papers if you have a
desire to more clearly present your argument or amend your
argument. Talk to me about your paper before rewriting--NO
EXCEPTIONS. The deadline for the rewrite is three class
periods after the paper is returned.
I think coming to class is very important. I will have a sign-in
sheet every day. Make sure you sign in each day; it is
your responsibility to ask if you can’t find the sign-in
sheet. Anyone who misses more than three classes (NO
EXCUSED ABSENCES), will find their grade affected. If you
want to explain your absence, do so by talking to me outside of
class. You get three absences–do not use them except in an
emergency–and don’t have more than three emergencies.
Source Abstract and presentation
Three Quizzes (25 points each)
Final Exam 15%
Final Exam: The Final for this class will be held Wednesday
December 13th 1-2:50 pm
PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING
Below you will find an excerpt from the UVU Student Rights and
Responsibilities Code concerning Plagiarism and Cheating. Either
activity can result in a failing grade in this class. Each
student is expected to maintain academic ethics and honesty in
all its forms, including but not limited to, cheating and
plagiarism as defined hereafter:
Cheating is the act of using or attempting
to use or providing others with unauthorized information,
materials or study aids in academic work. Cheating includes,
but is not limited to passing examination answers to or
taking examinations for someone else, or preparing or
copying other's academic work.
Plagiarism is the act of appropriating any other
person's or group's ideas or work (written, computerized,
artistic, etc.) or portions thereof and passing them off as
the product of one's own work in any academic exercise or
ATTENTION STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Students who need accommodations because of a disability may
contact the UVU Accessibility Services Department (ASD), located
on the Orem Campus in LC 312. To schedule an appointment or to
speak with a counselor, call the ASD office at 801-863-8747.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals, email
email@example.com or text 385-208-2677.
CELL PHONES AND COMPUTERS
During class your cellphones should be off and put away.
Taking calls or texting during class is unacceptable. If
you believe you need your cell phone on for some emergency it
must be in silent mode and you should leave the room to answer
it. This should happen only in emergencies. As you
will be possibly taking notes you may use a laptop to do so, but
while you are in class it should only be used for classwork in
this course; doing otherwise will undoubtedly annoy your peers
Understanding literature (especially that which is written in
Middle English) can be a confusing task. I will provide
information in class which should create a helpful context
within which you can consider the works we are reading.
Finding meaning in a work requires close attention to the text
and the societal forces which helped to generate that
work. I will help you to develop strategies for making
your own readings of the texts meaningful. Come and talk
to me if you are experiencing difficulties–the earlier, the