The Friar's Tale a la The Toast

Submitted by ctcamp on Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:10am
Bros. British Library MS Royal 19.C.I, fol. 33r.

If you have been paying any attention to The Toast's content this past year, you'll know already that Mallory Ortberg has been killing it with her medieval-themed spoofs and humorous material. One of her recent successes was The Wife of Bath's Prologue. So I handed this piece to this semester's Chaucer students and told them they'd get extra credit for spoofing a different Tale, a la The Toast.

How to Talk To Your Dragon ... in Middle English

Submitted by ctcamp on Wed, 10/21/2015 - 11:23am
Initial of St Margaret, British Library Burney 345 fol. 86v.

My department is a great place to work. For example, yesterday I got to play a dragon for a colleague. Simon Gatrell is teaching a course on Harry Potter, and he needed faculty "dragons" to guard dragon eggs (a scene you might remember from The Goblet of Fire). Students could win the eggs from us "dragons" if they answered our questions correctly and petitioned us with sufficient aplomb and abasement.

Sharps an Flats (UGA Remix)

Submitted by ctcamp on Fri, 01/09/2015 - 3:48pm

Chaucer has inspired a myriad of retellings, remixes, mashups, and other literary responses, and one of the most recent -- and most sophisticated -- homages is Patience Agbabi's Telling Tales (2014). Agbabi's poetry collection reimagines Chaucer's pilgrims in twenty-first century England and retells all his tales, via the diverse idioms of contemporary Brits and in equally diverse poetic styles.

Did Shakespeare drink at Chaucer's Tabard Inn?

Submitted by ctcamp on Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:55pm
Image of the Tabard Inn in the 19th c.

You probably know the Tabard Inn as the Southwark drinking establishment from whence Chaucer's pilgrims started their imaginary pilgrimage. The Tabard was a real place -- just off London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames, on the route from London to Kent and Canterbury, and it persisted (in one form or another) until the mid-19th century. And you probably know Southwark as the London suburb, on the south bank across the Thames from the City of London proper, that was home to Elizabethan London's riff-raff: prostitutes, bear-baiting, and commercial theatre.

Alice's Adventures in Middle English

Submitted by ctcamp on Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:12pm

What if Lewis Carroll had lived in Chaucer's London? What if his Alice had been an "Alys"? What if he had written in verse instead of prose, if his Alys had known what a fourteenth-century girl would have known, and his dream-vision (for so it is, really) had been populated by medieval rather than Victorian references? Well, it might have looked something like The Aventures of Alys in Wondyr Lond, a new translation of Carroll's story into Middle English. You can check out the blurb by translator Brian S.

"Choose Your Own Chaucer" Film Group (Chaucer, Spring 2010)

Submitted by ctcamp on Sun, 09/22/2013 - 11:02pm

In the spring of 2010, a group of my Chaucer students convinced me that they could make a film of Chaucer's "Legend of Dido" from his Legends of Good Women that would be an interpretively sophisticated engagement with Chaucer's poetry, his encounter with his classical sources, and his narrative techniques.

Geoffery Chaucer Hath A Blog

Submitted by ctcamp on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 2:35pm

Yes, folks, he actually does, right here at

He doesn't post frequently any more, but the old posts are definitely worth re-reading. I personally recommend his take on sparklie vampyres and the Cipher of Leonardo. Plus a lot of Ricardian England in-jokes that you must be a die-hard Chaucerian to get.