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Literature in a Changing World 1 - Period 4 Social Sciences & Humanities Program Spring 2025 Semester - Amsterdam

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Literature in a Changing World 1 - Period 4

Literature in a Changing World 1 - Period 4 Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Primary Subject Area: English Language & Literature
Instruction in: English
Course Code: L_ELBALES304
Transcript Source: Partner Institution
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 84
Prerequisites: Students should be aware that the level of theoretical reflection in this course is accordingly high.


Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, narrated by a highly heterogeneous group of not so devout pilgrims, are generally considered to be an important landmark in the formation of the idea of 'Englishness' and nationhood - against the French cultural hegemony since the Norman Conquest.

In this course, we will read and critically analyse a selection of the multi-layered prologues and tales contained in this 'estates satire' by the 'Father of English poetry'. For a more diverse audience than ever before witnessed in European literature, he celebrates 'difference' and plurality, and juxtaposes things sacred and profane, low and high genres and classes - all to be explored and examined before one might be able to draw any conclusion at all. Inspired by his illustrious French and Italian predecessors (Jean de Meun in the Roman de la Rose, Dante in the Commedia and Boccaccio in the Decamerone), Chaucer daringly challenges various authorities and universal truths in vernacular English. He raises significant questions and moral issues which students are invited to compare to our current world of globalisation and (anti-)European and nationalist tendencies.

Our explorations will include scholarly work on Chaucer's reworking of famous sources, interpretations inspired by new theoretical approaches (new historicism, postcolonialism, gender and queer studies), as well as modern remediations of The Canterbury Tales on screen (Pasolini, recent re-workings of tales for the BBC).

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) awards credits based on the ECTS system. Contact hours listed under a course description may vary due to the combination of lecture-based and independent work required for each course therefore, CEA's recommended credits are based on the ECTS credits assigned by VU Amsterdam. 1 ECTS equals 28 contact hours assigned by VU Amsterdam.

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