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Exploration : Saving Criseyde : Chaucer and Henryson at Troy

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Rory Critten
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2020 -> 2020

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre de printemps
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


To introduce students to Chaucer's epic poem and some of the sources that he adapted in its writing. Special focus: Criseyde!

To introduce students to Henryson's Testament of Cresseid, a response to and continuation of Chaucer's text.

To enhance students' reading facility in Middle English. The goal is that students will more easily be able to access Middle English texts in student editions.


In the minds of most modern readers, Chaucer's reputation stands on his vast, unfinished story collection, The Canterbury Tales (1388-1400). By contrast, the poet's late medieval contemporaries and early modern successors appear to have deemed his neatly crafted Troilus and Criseyde (1382-86), to be of equal, if not superior, importance. This course invites students to undertake a close reading of the Troilus, Chaucer's masterwork of love, sex, war, and betrayal, and to think about some of its repercussions in later English literature.

We will begin with a consideration of the sources of Chaucer's poem, in particular the Filostrato of Giovanni Boccaccio (late 1330s), before proceeding to study the Middle English text of Troilus and Criseyde in detail. Of particular interest will be the tensions caused by Chaucer's attempts to palliate Criseyde's infamous betrayal of her lover. With a view to fleshing out our enquiry, we will also examine one later response to Chaucer's text: the Testament of Cresseid (before 1492) by the Scottish poet, Robert Henryson.


There are two stages in the evaluation of this class:

1) A midterm exam (week 7), 30%: students identify a passage from one of the set texts discussed in class and write a critical commentary on it. A list of extracts that might appear on the exam will be circulated beforehand.

2) A final exam (week 13), 70%: choosing one from two essay questions, students write an extended response to a prompt set by the instructor.


Students are expected to buy the following edition of Troilus: Geoffrey Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde, ed. Stephen A. Barney. London: Norton, 2006. Copies of this book are available from Booksbooksbooks: https://booksbooksbooks.ch.

Informations supplémentaires

First class: https://unil.zoom.us/j/91247684828

Unicentre - CH-1015 Lausanne - Suisse
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Canton de Vaud
Swiss University