Geoffrey Chaucer

Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer

Seth Lerer, Ph.D. Professor, University of California, San Diego

Over the course of these 12 half-hour lectures, Dr. Lerer explains Chaucer’s life, and the world and language in which he wrote.

You’ll learn how Chaucer uses relationships between men and women, humans and God, social “insiders” and “outsiders,” and high and low desires to explore our “ticklish” world, and the way life takes shape from literary forms, be they marriage vows, the verses of Scripture, or stories told by plain folk.

Chaucer illuminates the tensions between the realms of our existence—the public and the private, the political and the literary, the imaginary and the experiential, the spiritual and the corporeal—and shows how these tensions reveal character.

Chaucer’s poems are fascinating social documents in their own right, equally concerned with everyday human interaction and once-in-a-lifetime moments. In these lectures, you’ll meet some of the most vibrant characters in all of literature:

  • the bawdy Wife of Bath
  • the manipulative Pandarus (whose very name gave rise to the term “pandering”)
  • the upright Knight
  • the ambiguous Pardoner
  • the Miller, all agog at the sheer surprising “ticklishness” of God’s plenteous creation.

These lectures are from The Teaching Company. Courtesy: Chinni Krishnan J B and Sivamani

Course Guidebook PDF


2. The Scope of Chaucer’s Work

3. Chaucer’s Language
5. Troilus and Criseyde – Love and Philosophy
6. Troilus and Criseyde – History and Fiction
7. The Canterbury Tales – The General Prologue
8. The Canterbury Tales – The First Fragment
9. The Wife of Bath
10. The Pardoner
11. God’s Plenty – The Variety of The Canterbury Tales

12. Chaucer’s Living Influence

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