LIT218 : Chaucer's Comic Tales

Convenor(s): Dr Nicky Hallett


Please note: This module may or may not run in any given semester. Please check with the tutor.

General Information

Chaucer wrote some of the most exciting, challenging and entertaining literature in English. His repertoire encompasses the main medieval genres: dream writing, Romance, fabliaux populated by tricksters, cuckolds and the sexually voracious. This module will consider his work in the light of ideas of Comedy, basing discussion primarily on The Canterbury Tales, his series of stories told by a motley assortment of pilgrims on their way between London and Canterbury. We’ll study a Tale each week to consider among other issues Chaucer’s treatment of dreams (‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’); courtly literature (‘The Knight’s Tale’); fabliaux (‘The Miller’s Tale’, ‘The Reeve’s Tale’); of gender (‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’); of sexuality (‘The Pardoner’s Tale’). Among other issues we’ll explore issues of authority, gender, power, desire and sexuality. And we’ll consider theories of Comedy as a genre, and how Chaucer responds to and shapes ideas of literary humour within a European cultural context.


There is one lecture and one seminar a week.


Two essays (40% and 50% respectively) and seminar performance (10%) based on informal contributions in the module as a whole.

Contact Details

Dr Nicky Hallett,

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:16:31 PM (BST)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK