Module Identifier ENM1720  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Diane Watt  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite good honours degree  
Co-Requisite ENM0120 and ENM0220 plus three other MA option modules  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   5 x 2 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 5,000 words   
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 5,000 words   

Brief description

This module looks in detail at some of the works of two major late medieval authors, Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporary, associate, and literary executor, John Gower. It focuses on those works by Chaucer which tend to be overlooked, or to be studied in insufficient depth on undergraduate courses, either because they are generically unfamiliar (the dream poems) or because of their sheer length (the romance, Troilus and Criseyde). It also considers John Gower's neglected long English poem, Confessio Amantis. Reference will, however, be made to other work by these authors, including the Canterbury Tales, Vox Clamantis, and Miroir de l'homme. Both Chaucer and Gower were poets in the court of Richard II, although Gower notoriously swapped his allegiance to the future Henry IV (a political manoeuvre which is reflected in the changes he made to the prologue og the Confessio). The works of both writers examine, if to varying extents, the political, religious, social and ethical systems of their day. Chaucer only occasionally or indirectly alluded to contemporary catastrophes, such as the Black Death. Gower, in contrast, frequently referred to conflicts in the Church, such as the Great Schism or the spread of Lollardy, as well as in the State, and his vivid depiction of the Peasants' Revolt in Vox Clamantis is well known. This module will consider these poems by Chaucer and Gower in their wider historical and ideological contexts.

Reading Lists

Barry Windeatt (1995) The Oxford Guides to Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde Oxford University Press
Robert Yeager (1999) Revisioning Gower Pegasus
Geoffrey Chaucer (1997) Chaucer's Dream Poetry Longman
Geoffrey Chaucer (1999) Troilus and Criseyde Everyman
John Gower (1981) Confessio Amantis University of Toronto Press
David Aers (ed.) (1986) Medieval Literature Harvester
David Aers (ed.) (1988) Community, Gender and Individual Identity Routledge
Caroline Dinshaw (1989) Chaucer's Sexual Poetics Wisconsin
A.J.Minnis (ed.) (1983) Gower's Confessio Amantis Brewer
A.J. Minnis (1995) The Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Shorter Poems Open University
Peter Nicholson (ed.) (1991) Gower's Confessio Amantis Brewer
Kurt Olson (1992) John Gower and Structures of Conversion Brewer
David Wallace (1999) Chaucerian Polity Stanford


This module is at CQFW Level 7