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Canterbury Tales

A guide to resources to find resources for Canterbury Tales.

Canterbury Tales: Analytical Research Essay

Focused analysis: Trace how a topic or key idea/theme connects across a Canterbury Tale of your choice and a work of modern literature- a short story, novel, or film. 7-10 or so focused pages, MLA format.

Main focus: Proportion on the primary texts. Also get into dialogue with three or more academic secondary sources that are relevant and add something noteworthy to your observations—aim to discover more for yourself and your own readers. Great sources for sources: syllabus links & recommendations (on pp. 2-3); Canterbury Tales Libguide on Dugan Library site with tips and help from Librarian Jeanette Parker.

Note: Yes, you may use “I” voice here when you make a direct observation- please do! Passive voice can come across as stiff and odd, and I promise you that academics do use “I” more often than you may have been told… aim for a lively academic conversational tone.

First steps: Start with your hunch about the kind of connection you are noticing. Then, while engaged in closer, more meditative (re)readings of your tale and more modern-day text, what kinds of detail do you now notice in specific passages? Move some of these passages onto a page. Read/Listen again – and write exploratory fastwrites- to discover subtleties you did not notice or notice as much before: what do these passages’ details add to your hunch now? What about their context stands out, and how? What about their language does?  Do a little each day rather than all at once in a burst- give your brain the chance to work its magic. J

Then: Post up your drafty draft in the feedback portal by W 4/15. (Two groups of four; you give detailed feedback to three colleagues and receive the same in return.) I will also jump in and “piggyback” some response in there and can also meet with you individually.

Next steps: Work with feedback, sharpen and commit to your focus; browse for secondary sources and pull a few promising ones. Read these, listening for what more they add to or how they alter your observations—pull one or two relevant passages and explore how through fastwriting.

Then: Sculpt, or bulk reconfigure your draft for its idea-shaping. This still works way better for me with a printout than onscreen scrolling, so I can see the whole thing and label the kinds of parts – to see how it fits together, what no longer fits, and what’s yet needed.

Revise with care, check that citations are accurate and match in-text through Works Cited, then proofread and post up revised draft into the Revised Draft portal – on or before W 4/29.

Rejoice in knowing you have engaged well with texts, other writers, and your readers.