Approaches to Teaching Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'

Travis, Peter W., and Frank Grady, eds.

Approaches to Teaching Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'

Travis, Peter W., and Frank Grady, eds. "Approaches to Teaching Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'." New York: Modern Language Association, 2014 ISBN 9781603291408

This new, updated edition of the influential initial volume in the MLA's "Approaches to Teaching" series is welcome and timely, particularly given all the changes that have taken place, technologically and in the demography of our classrooms, since 1980, when the first edition appeared. If one seeks evidence in the new edition of increased recognition of the importance of Gower's works to the instruction of his contemporary, however, the results are very thin. Only Martha Driver, in her essay on "Multimedia Approaches to Teaching Chaucer's Middle English Texts" (187), acknowledges assigning her students to read any portion of the CA (the "Tale of Florent"). R.F. Yeager's 1991 collection of essays entitled "Chaucer and Gower: Difference, Mutuality, Exchange" is cited by the editors in their discussion of "Materials" (13), but Gower himself is not listed among the "all-important [primary] texts" for students to consult on page 6. The inclusion of "Florent" in Kolve and Olsen's Norton Critical Edition of selections from the "Canterbury Tales" is noted on page 4. Michael Calabrese, however, in his essay on teaching the "Man of Law's Tale," gives more attention to the "jab" at Gower in MLP (p. 84) than he does to Gower's version of the tale of Constance (mentioned only alongside Trivet's in a note, p. 87). The other three references hardly give any greater prominence to Gower. Roger Ladd cites Gower's and Langland's use of exchange and "chevisance" in his discussion of the possibility of satire in Chaucer's portrait of the Merchant (74); Michelle Warren notes Gower's appearance among the listeners in Ford Madox Brown's painting of "Chaucer at the Court of Edward III" (114); and Alex Mueller claims that the subtitle of the online Chaucer blog, "Take That, Gower!," offers a "model of interaction" for his own students.] [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 34.2.]


Gower Subjects
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations