Sunday, March 15, 2020

You Read it Here, First

I'm predicting an upsurge in blogging.  Buy those blogging stocks now!

Blogging is at its best when the blogger is doing something relatively new to them and processing a lot.  And by golly, we've got a lot of people who are going to be doing something relatively new to them and needing to process.  And a lot of folks are mostly going to be inside, trying to work on line.

I must admit, I miss the community from those heady days of blogging when lots of folks blogged, and then when it turned out that I knew a fair number of academic bloggers off line, too.  (I think my grad program somehow produced a disproportionately high number of bloggers.)

We're going on line, too.  We have a week of suspended classes, spring break for a week, and then another week of suspended classes in which to prepare, which is a whole lot more than a lot of people. 

My goal for today is to decide what I want to focus on and what leave out for at least one class, and maybe two.  We're suspending classes for two weeks, so it's reasonable to drop some stuff, two weeks worth.

As incoming chair, I've been to a lot of meetings this past week or so, and it seems like everyone up the chain is on board with being reasonable: try to do a reasonably good job putting courses on line, but recognize that things aren't ideal.  Try to do a reasonably good job in other ways, but recognize that we're going to need to treat tenure track colleagues' progression reasonably.  (People, especially people with kids, can't possibly do the same sort of research agenda while learning to teach on line and having their kids home, and so forth.  And people will get sick and lose time.)

In terms of first stage planning, here's what the Chaucer course calendar looked like:

Week 7
M - Mar 16 - The Reeve’s Tale
W - Mar 18 - Midterm Exam
F - Mar 20 - The Wife of Bath’s Prologue; read essay on prologue in Open Access Companion; Article Report #2 Due


Week 8
M - Mar 30 - The Wife of Bath’s Tale; Word Paragraph #7: 1109-1124; Article Report #3 Due
W - Apr 1 - The Wife of Bath’s Tale; read essay in Open Access Companion
F - Apr 3 - The Friar’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #8: 1447-1554

Week 9
M - Apr 6 - The Friar’s Tale
W - Apr 8 - The Summoner’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #9: 2216-2237
F - Apr 10 - The Summoner’s Tale

Week 10
M - Apr 13 - The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #10: 1319-1339
W - Apr 15 - The Merchant’s Tale
F - Apr 17 - SAA

Week 11
M - Apr 20 - The Franklin’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #11: 862-880
W - Apr 22 - The Franklin’s Tale
F - Apr 24 - The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #12: 941-957

Week 12
M - Apr 27 - The Prioress’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #13: 502-529
W - Apr 29 - The Prioress’s Tale
F - May 1 - The Nun’s Priest’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #14: 3705-3719

Week 13
M - May 4 – Peer Revision of Research Project
W - May 6 - The Second Nun’s Prologue and Tale; Word Paragraph #15:  141-154
F - May 7 - The Manciple’s Tale (Guest lecturer)

Week 14
M - May 11 - Review for Final; Research Project Due
W - May 13 - The Parson's Prologue; Chaucer's Retraction
F - May 15 - Last Day of Classes; The Pilgrimage; read “Two Kinds of Anxiety” essay in Open Access Companion

The Manciple's Tale is going away, for sure.  But what else?

The article reports are assignments to read and write about a single critical article, and are preparation for the final research project, which is basically a lit review of a critical conversation around a topic/issue (I gave them a list).

What else should I lose?

I'm thinking: Second Nun's for sure, and Parson's Prologue; what else?


  1. OK, I'm weird and idiosyncratic, and you may have good reasons to teach certain tales b/c of how they interact with other works you regularly teach in other classes. But here's what I would do with your current reading: keep the Marriage Group. Drop the Pardoner, Prioress, and NPT. Keep the 2NT and Manciple. I am agnostic on the ParsPro but am fond of the Pride section of the ParsT that rails about extravagant clothing.

    Rationale: I hate the Prioress (you may have your reasons for wanting to address her anti-Semitism); I find the Pardoner creepy; and the NPT is overly complex. For me, it's hard to show students all the things that Chaucer is doing with the NPT and keep their attention. YMMV! BUT the 2NT is a lovely example of a highly intelligent religious woman (who has given the nosy busy-body narrator absolutely no purchase to tell us anything about her) telling a highly wrought tale about a very mouthy woman who gets away with speaking truth to power. It plays beautifully against the secular Wife of Bath. The Manciple's Tale is essentially the Manciple's Mother's Tale---he keeps attributing it to her---so just as the WOB ventriloquizes her husbands, so the Manciple ventriloquizes his mom. Again, it plays well with the WOB and the other tales that deal with the status of women. And since its central story is from the Metamorphoses, it connects to the MerchT and lets you discuss connections & contrasts among classical lit, the Arthurian tradition of the WOBT, and the folk traditions of the FrankT.

    That's what I'd do.
    (Sorry if this is a duplicate post: I tried with name/URL and the comment didn't appear, so I'm logging in.)

  2. Oooo, that's really helpful! I have some more thinking to do!!

  3. Thanks again for your help! I think I've settled on this, given that I have 18 days of "class" total.
    Reeves (finish) 1 day
    Midterm 1 day
    WoBP 1 day
    WoBT 2 days
    Friar P/T 2 days
    Summoner P/T 2 days
    Merchant 2 days
    Frank 2 days
    Pard Prologue 1 day
    Prioress 2 days
    2nd Nun 1 day
    Finish up, retraction, pilgrimage