Skip to main content

Unit information: Chaucer and Chaucerians in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Chaucer and Chaucerians
Unit code ENGL20061
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Cathy Hume
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will focus on a range of medieval texts by Geoffrey Chaucer, and a selection of contemporary or later texts that are in dialogue with Chaucer’s example, or which have preceded him. The unit will facilitate detailed study of Chaucer’s poems, and of various writers who followed, imitated, and strove to outdo him, for instance John Gower, Thomas Hoccleve, James I, and Robert Henryson. Students may read a number of Canterbury Tales, as well as Chaucer’s dream visions, and his masterful love poem, Troilus and Criseyde.


The aim of the unit is to give students a good grounding in Chaucer’s poems, and enable them to assess Chaucer’s influence on later literary tradition.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the evolution of Chaucer’s works, and that of some of his followers;
  2. apply understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of Middle English Literature;
  3. discriminate between different critical perspectives on Chaucerian literature;
  4. identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument in oral and written discourse;
  5. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources;
  6. demonstrate skills in presenting an aspect of Chaucer’s influence in the form of a poster.

Teaching details

1 x 1 hour lecture

1 x 2 hour seminar

Assessment Details

  • One poster presentation (25%) [ILOs 1-6].
  • One 2500-word summative essay (75%). [ILOs 1-5].

Reading and References

  1. Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry Benson, 3rd edn (Oxford, 2008)
  2. Robert Henryson: The Complete Works, ed. David J. Parkinson (Kalamazoo, MI, 2010) [free online edition available]
  3. John Gower, Confessio Amantis, ed. Russell A. Peck, 2 vols (Kalamazoo, MI, 2006) [free online edition available]
  4. Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales, ed. Correale and Hamel (Brewer, 2002) [e-text available in UoB library]