This course will study Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, which we will read in its original language, Middle English. Chaucer’s poem was written in the late fourteenth century, and it offers a unique opportunity to learn about late medieval English literature, culture, and society. The most striking feature of The Canterbury Tales is its diversity: the poem assimilates a large number of literary forms, genres, and styles (romance, fabliau, tragedy, comedy, allegory, didacticism, parody) and concerns itself with a multitude of issues, from chivalry, religion, and law to excrement, plague, and money. We will examine Chaucer’s poem both in its historical and cultural context and from the point of view of its literary art. In our classes, we will combine textual analysis with discussions of medieval literature and culture.