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Chaucer and 21st Century Readers (Essay Sample)


Chaucer and 21st Century Readers
Visit the Web site Visualizing Chaucer and explore the contents of the site: http://d(dot)lib(dot)rochester(dot)edu/chaucer
Then, discuss the following prompt, which first includes an excerpt from "Chaucer in American Higher Education, Past and present" by Alan Baragona.
"Chaucer is unique among British cultural exports to the United States because he is so inextricably tied to the classroom. Shakespeare as a general rule may first be introduced to modern Americans in high school, but his work has a life outside school in the theater, and it is possible for an American to discover Shakespeare first on the stage rather than on the page. British music, classical or folk, is known primarily in the concert hall and on radio; British films, in the movie houses; British art, in the museums. None of these really needs the classroom to be transplanted across the Atlantic. Although it is true that Chaucer is distinguished from his contemporaries like Gower or Hoccleve because he continues to appeal to modern sensibilities in a variety of ways, it is also true that, in the United States even more than in England, Chaucer depends on teachers to cultivate those sensibilities so that his work continues to be read." (Baragona, .)
In your view, is it difficult to teach Chaucer in American high schools/ colleges? To be more specific, is it difficult to interest students in Chaucer? Explain your rationale. Might the Visualizing Chaucer Web site be useful in engaging students with Chaucer? Why/ why not?
Respond to this prompt in short essay format. 500-700 words. Provide concrete examples and illustrations. Please use MLA format and keep in mind this is an academic essay and should not be in the first person.
Baragona, Alan. "Chaucer in American higher education, past and present." Chaucer: An Oxford Guide. Ed. Steve Ellis. Oxford:
Oxford UP (2005).


Student Name
Chaucer and 21st Century Readers
Chaucer remains one of the most remarkable authors in the middle Age. He is one of the most important figures in literature. In Europe, Chaucer is highly regarded with his works widely read and taught in schools. In the U.S., the situation is different considering that the European author is not widely taught. The popularity of Chaucer in the U.S. is depended on teachers to create interest among their students about his works. Despite the challenges facing the teaching of Chaucer in the U.S., websites like Visualizing Chaucer, are critical in engaging students with the author.
Unlike in Britain, it is difficult to teach Chaucer in American high schools/colleges. Firstly, the choice of the curriculum in American schools/collages is based on the ethnic composition of the individual classrooms. Given that American teachers have a degree of choice regarding what they can teach, there is a tendency to drop Chaucer from the curriculum to cater for the diverse needs of the students. Where students demonstrate poor reading skills, American teachers would prefer to have texts that are more accessible than Chaucer. In addition, the U.S. has a strong immigration policy creates diversity in the classroom. Such students would prefer to read works of authors who talk about experiences they can relate with on their daily lives. Given that the ultimate goal of the classroom

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