Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Wendy Hoofnagle, Honors Thesis Advisor


“Also I prey yow to foryeve it me, / Al have I nat set folk in hir degree / Here in this tale, as that they sholde stonde; / My wit is short, ye may wel understonde” (Chaucer 35). These are the words written by Geoffrey Chaucer, who is considered the father of English literature, in the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, a work that has survived and remained relevant for over six hundred years. The juxtaposition of a man whose writing turned him into a household name begging his audience to forgive his short wit and lack of storytelling skills is striking. Ann Chalmers Watts notes this discrepancy between Chaucer and his narrator of the same name, pointing out, “This ‘I’ who mouths the first English perfection of heroic couplet and rime royale is capable only of the ‘drasty rymyng’ of the Tale of Sir Thopas” (237). This very notable absurdity of the infamous work is laughable, and if there is one thing we know that Chaucer enjoyed, it’s humor. It is a defining quality of Chaucer’s works, and his sense of humor is quite uniquely and identifiably his. Therefore, this bold, ironic statement should signal the reader, and should certainly raise some questions.

Year of Submission



Department of Languages and Literatures

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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