This is an upper-division course.

It fulfills an English-major requirement in Literature Before 1500.

All the students in the class are English majors.

Assigned reading has included information about Chaucer’s life.

I have been speaking of “The fourteenth-century this” and “The medieval that” for weeks.

Yet a paper from this class informs me that Chaucer “was from the 1800s.”

5 thoughts on “Despair

  1. What IS it with the total lack of chronological awareness (and with the novels too–evidently Chaucer, Langland, and the Gawain-poet all wrote them, according to my students). If I hear once more that Chaucer wrote the CT in Old English (that is, the same language as Beowulf, which we read in the same medieval lit survey, though in translation), I'm gonna have to get medieval on someone's a$$! Or, maybe I'll take the advice of the word verification gods and "cocudge" them. Sounds both violent and vaguely medieval-ish, no?

  2. Aack!(I sometimes hear students refer to Renaissance poetry as "being written in Old English" and have to gently point out that if it were indeed in Old English, they wouldn't be able to read it without having taken a class…)Sigh.

  3. I always put some sort of "when did Shakespeare live and work?" question on the final for my Shakespeare class. And at least one student always, always gets it wrong by two centuries or more, even after a full semester.And everything is always a "novel" or a "story," except for actual short stories, which are "poems," and The Canterbury Tales, which is apparently a play.

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