Reading Like the Reeve with Elizabeth Scala – May 16th @ 4 pm

Please join us for a seminar-style discussion of excerpts from Elizabeth Scala’s 2015 book, Desire in the Canterbury Tales. This book “examines the collection’s manner of generating stories out of division, difference, and contestation. It argues that Chaucer’s tales are produced as misreadings and misrecognitions of each other. Looking to the main predicate of the General Prologue’s famous opening sentence (‘longen’) as well as the thematic concerns of a number of tale-tellers, and working with a theoretical model that exposes language as the product of such longing, Scala posits desire as the very subject of the Canterbury Tales and misrecognition as its productive effect. In chapters focusing on both the well-discussed tales of fragment 1 and the marriage group as well as the more recalcitrant religious stories, Desire in the Canterbury Tales offers a comprehensive means of accounting for Chaucer’s poem” (Ohio State University Press). We will be reading and discussing both the Introduction and Chapter Two: “Misreading Like the Reeve.”

Elizabeth Scala is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin. She writes and teaches about Chaucer, the history of Chaucer studies, and the textual environments of medieval literature. Her recently published essays focus on the circulation of desire in the Canterbury Tales; the phallic jokes in the General Prologue and modern historicist criticism; and illustrations of the Canterbury pilgrims in manuscript and modern books. She has published The Post-Historical Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), a collection of essays co-edited with Sylvia Federico. She is also one of the editors of the journal Exemplaria: Medieval / Early Modern / Theory.

For access to PDFs of both of the chapters we will be reading, please email the Medieval Literatures RA at

The seminar will be held in South Hall 2635 from 4 to 5 pm, with a reception following from 5 – 7 pm in the Sankey Room, South Hall 2623.ScalaPoster