Examine the sincerity or irony of Chaucer’s Retraction in light of

Write an essay on the tension between fabula and historia in The Clerk’s Tale.


Examine the sincerity or irony of Chaucer’s Retraction in light of fragments IX and X of The Canterbury Tales.




Your essay must include relevant quotation from and reference to primary and secondary texts.


You must work with critical editions of Chaucer’s poems; you may not quote from or refer to translations of his works.


Reading List




Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Riverside Chaucer. Ed. Larry D. Benson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.




Chaucer, Geoffrey. Dream Visions and Other Poems. Ed. Kathryn L. Lynch. London and New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007.

—. Troilus and Criseyde. Ed. Stephen A. Barney. London and New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006.

—. The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue, 2nd edition. Ed. V. A. Kolve and Glending Olson. London and New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2005.


Suggested Secondary Reading




Ashton, Gail. Geoffrey Chaucer, Brief Lives. London: Hesperus, 2011.

Brown, Peter. Geoffrey Chaucer, Authors in Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Butterfield, Ardis. Chaucer: A London Life. London: I.B. Tauris, 2019.

Howard, Donald R. Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His World. New York: Ballantine, 1987.

Pearsall, Derek. The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Critical Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

*Strohm, Paul. Chaucer’s Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury. New York: Viking Penguin, 2014.

*West, Richard. Chaucer 1340-1400: The Life and Times of the First English Poet. London: Robinson, 2002.

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