Preliminary Schedule of Readings and Events

               Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

     Directors: Susanna Fein and David Raybin



  • The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson et al., 3rd edition. (Boston, 1987)
  • [alternate text: The Canterbury Tales Complete, ed. Larry D. Benson (Boston, 2000)]
  • Chaucer: Contemporary Approaches, ed. Susanna Fein and David Raybin (University Park PA, 2010)

                    WEEK 1 - Canterbury TALES, FRAGMENTS I-II 

Mon. July 18
9-3 p.m.
3-5 p.m.
6-9 p.m.
Settle in at Kent State University
Orientation to the Seminar and KSU
Welcome Dinner
Tues. July 19
9-11:30 a.m.
2-5 p.m.
General Prologue Laura Kendrick, "Humor in Perspective," CA, 135-58
Participants' 10-min reports on books read prior to the seminar (see Book List)
Wed. July 20
9-11:30 a.m.
11-12 p.m.
Knight's Tale, Miller's Tale Simon Horobin, "Manuscripts and Scribes," CA, 67-82
Visit to the KSU Library Special Collections and Archives
Thurs. July 21
Fri. July 22
9-11 a.m.
Reeve's Tale, Cook's Tale, Man of Law's Tale John M. Bowers, "Colonialism, Latinity, and Resistance," CA, 116-31

                    Week 2 - Canterbury TALES, FRAGMENTS iii-v

Mon. July 25
9-11:30 a.m.
Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale
Richard Firth Green, “Changing Chaucer,” SAC 25 (2003): 27-52
Guest: Richard Firth Green
Tues. July 26
9-11:30 a.m.
Friar’s Tale, Summoner’s Tale, Clerk’s Tale
Robert R. Edwards, “Italy,” CA, 3-24
Guest: Richard Firth Green
Wed. July 27
Thurs. July 28
9-11:30 a.m.
Clerk’s Tale, Merchant’s Tale
Robert J. Meyer-Lee, “Fragments IV and V of the Canterbury Tales Do Not Exist,” Ch Rev 45 (2010): 1-31
Guest: Robert J. Meyer-Lee
Fri. July 29
9-11:30 a.m.
Squire’s Tale, Franklin’s Tale
Glenn Burger, “Gender and Sexuality,” CA, 179-98
Guest: Robert J. Meyer-Lee

                    Week 3 - Canterbury TALES, FRAGMENTS VI-VII

Mon. August 1
9-11:30 a.m.
Physician's Tale, Pardoner's Prologue and Tale
Ardis Butterfiled, "France," CA, 20-46
Guest: Ardis Butterfield
Tues. August 2
9-11:30 a.m.
Shipman's Tale, Prioress's Tale
Karla Taylor, "Language in Use," CA, 99-115
Guest: Ardis Butterfield
Wed. August 3
9-11:30 a.m.
Chaucer and Visual Culture: Trip to Cleveland Museum of Art
Lecture and Guided Visit: Stephen Fliegel, Curator of Medieval Art
Thurs. August 4
9-11:30 a.m.
Tales of Sir Thopas, Tale of Melibee, Monk's Tale, Num's Priest's Tale
Kathy Lavezzo, "England," CA, 47-64
Fri. August 5

                    Week 4 - Canterbury TALES, FRAGMENTS VIII-X

Mon. August 8
9-11:30 a.m.
Second Nun's Tale, Canon's Yeoman's Tale
Tues. August 9
9-11:30 a.m.
Manciple's Tale, Parson's Tale, Retraction
Wed. August 10
9-12:00 p.m.
Participant Presentations
Thurs. August 11
9-12:00 p.m.
Participant Presentations
Fri. August 12
9-12:00 p.m.
Participant Presentations/Closure
Farewell Dinner
Sat. August 13


All four weeks of the Seminar focus on reading and responding to the Canterbury Tales. We will meet most mornings from 9 to 11:30, supplementing the sessions with lectures by guest scholars and field trips to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall, and the KSU Library Special Collections and Archives. During the Seminar, participants will read the tales in the order in which they appear in the fifteenth-century Ellesmere Manuscript and in standard editions, alongside a selection of recent scholarship on Chaucer.

The text we use is that found in The Riverside Chaucer as well as in The Canterbury Tales Complete. These textbooks have the same pagination, and each provides a good glossary, abundant explanatory notes, bibliographical references, and comprehensive introductions to Chaucer’s life, works, and language. Upon arrival, each participant will receive a copy of Chaucer: Contemporary Approaches, which will be read as a supplementary text.

All members of the Seminar are expected to be active participants in discussion. The storytelling contest that provides the frame to the Canterbury Tales is premised on the idea that the winning tale will incorporate sentence and solaas. Throughout the Seminar we will promote and nurture a spirit among participants that will be both seriously intellectual and convivially collegial.

Assignments, Individual Projects, and Consultations

Several weeks before the start of the Seminar, a packet of materials will be distributed to participants in preparation for the program. The packet will include a revised Schedule of Readings and Activities, a list of Recent Books on Chaucer (in preparation for short presentations at the beginning of the Seminar), and a bibliography of Books and Selected Articles on Chaucer, c. 2000 – c. 2014. The books and articles on this list will be placed on reserve in the KSU Library.

For their individual projects, participants will be encouraged to produce the equivalent of a significant paper, chapter, or portion of a book related in some way to the Seminar’s exploration of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in light of current scholarship. Projects associated with substantial course development will also be entertained. Participants will present their findings to the group during the Seminar’s final three sessions.

The directors of the Seminar will hold individual meetings with participants in the first and last weeks to discuss the development and progress of each project. Participants will also have opportunities to consult with visiting guest faculty about their research projects.