Geoffrey Chaucer is one of our grandest and most enduring poets; an architect of our vocabulary and our literary style. By examining the English writer's texts, from his short love lyrics to the copious profusion of character and incident that is The Canterbury Tales, these 12 lectures will prepare you for the challenges of Chaucer's oeuvre, and will provide an understanding of what makes him the true father of English poetry. With Professor Lerer as your expert guide, you'll plumb the richness and depth of Chaucer's poetry and explore his life, the range of his work, and his impact on English language and literature. You'll examine Chaucer in virtually all the varieties of literature available to him: classical epic, domestic farce, ribald comedy, saint's life, beast fable, romance adventure, personal lyric, devotional prayer, and religious prose. You'll learn how Chaucer uses relationships between men and women, humans and God, social insiders and outsiders, and high and low desires to explore our ticklish world, and the way life takes shape from literary forms-be they marriage vows, the verses of Scripture, or stories told by plain folk. You'll also meet some of the most vibrant characters in all of literature, including: the bawdy Wife of Bath, the manipulative Pandarus (whose very name gave rise to the term pandering), the upright Knight, and the ambiguous Pardoner.
Professor Lerer leads you deeply into the texts, so that you learn about their sources and syntax, and the rich repertoire of poetic techniques they display. And while he makes it clear that these texts remain eminently worth reading today, he also does full justice to their medieval context.
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