Well, in grading avoidance mode, I've been thinking about my Chaucer class next semester. Teaching Chaucer's a delightful treat for me, maybe even better in some ways than teaching Shakespeare. But, there's also a different level of difficulty because of late, I've only gotten to teach Chaucer about every 5th year. So I don't keep up as well as I should between times.
This isn't ideal, but it's what we've got for now, anyway.
Here's where you, dear reader (I'm sure there's one out there!) come in! One of the assignments I give in my seminar level classes is to write a book review. It's useful because students actually read a book of criticism, think about criticism in a different way (I hope), and then write a review of the book. The reviews are shared by all seminar members and we discuss them in class, so that by the last third of the term, when students are buried deep in writing seminar papers, they have a ready made bibliography to help them find useful secondary sources. (It also helps them see a model of critical writing AND gives us a chance to talk about genre in their writing.)
I spent some time last summer prepping, so I've ordered a number of books for our library, but I see that the enrollment is higher than I'd realized, and some of the books I ordered are just too hard for our undergrads, so I'm looking for, desperately seeking, some help.
Can you suggest a recent (last 5-10 years) book on Chaucer or related issues (social history, for example), that's appropriate for advanced undergrads, and in print (preferably available in soft cover)? (Is there a medieval source as useful as the SEL annual review for early modern drama and non-drama work?) If you've got a great older suggestion, I'll happily check that out, too.
While I'm at it, I've also started wishing I had some CDs or tapes of someone else reading Chaucer aloud (in Middle English) so that students can hear a better, or at the least, different accent than mine while they're learning. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks in advance for any help you folks can provide!