Professor Michael Calabrese from CSU gave a lecture in SIS


Professor Michael Calabrese from CSU gave a lecture in SIS


September 17, 2012, at the invitation of the Institute of English Literature (IEL), Prof. Michael Calabrese from California State University (CSU) delivered a spectacular lecture entitled The Moral, Spiritual, and Religious Doctrines of Geoffrey Chaucer, the Premier Poet of the English Middle Ages to the students and faculties of SIS in Room 201, East 5. The lecture was presided by the dean of IEL, Prof. Gao Fen.


Starting with Chaucer’s close tie with religion and philosophy, Prof. Calabrese introduced literature history and background dotted with comparison to Chinese history. And he explained the profound in simple languages, which appealed greatly to the audience. Prof. Calabrese quoted related stories in the Canterbury Tales as evidence to support his opinion. He argued, through a story of a knight, that the death in company with honor and respect was deemed as a lasting merit instead of sorrow. Reading well-written words, he proposed that the best result was to die gloriously at the peak of the fame, just as the birth of many brilliant works and shinning thoughts in prison. Merit was regarded as the biggest happiness in life and the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle was not enough for Chaucer to express merits. Prof. Calabrese believed Christian Chaucer must give a strong religious-flavored solution to displaying merits. Then a humorous demonstration was stretched to continue the topic and an image of a greedy preacher was exampled to pinpoint the irony of Chaucer’s story. In addition, Prof. Calabrese recited a Latin sentence, showing that Chaucer sometimes used sacred religious Latin church expressions to improve moral explanation. With abundant examples, Prof. Calabrese’s improved communication with his audience, who were interested in comparisons between oriental and occidental religions and philosophy. In the last case, he pointed out that Chaucer paid much attention to the Christian education of his works, as in his eyes any writing was supposed to bring about merits.


What Chaucer aimed to indicate in his works, according to Prof. Calabrese, was that the merits can bright to the society happiness and harmony. At the end of the lecture, together with some listeners, the speaker read some parts of Chaucer’s works passionately so as to help them enjoy the glamour of English literature in the Middle Ages. Questions raised by the audience were well replied. The audience benefited greatly when Prof. Calabrese interpreted and shared Chaucer’s understanding of virtues.


                                                                             (Translated by CHEN Qian)



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