Leicester University denies it is dropping Chaucer for being ‘too white’ after proposing to stop teaching course on medieval poet in favour of modules on race and sexuality
- University courses featuring The Canterbury Tales and Beowulf are under threat
- English department staff have been told of the plans via email this week
- Uni today moved today to deny Chaucer course was axed for being ‘too white’
A university was today forced to deny the reason it was dropping English literary giant Geoffrey Chaucer from courses was because he was ‘too white’ – after plans emerged he was being replaced to make way for modules on race and sexuality.
University of Leicester courses featuring The Canterbury Tales and Beowulf are planned for retirement in favour of lessons ‘students expect’
Management told staff who had been teaching the Medieval literature classes said it wanted to introduce modules it called ‘excitingly innovative’.
Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, is called the Father of English Literature
Epic poem Beowolf is also set to be phased according to the new University proposals
An email circulated to tutors and lecturers said they would be a history of writing, taking in course elements on ‘race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity’.
Today the university insisted to MailOnline the changed came after feedback from students.
A spokesperson said: ‘Students at the University of Leicester will continue to study some of the best-loved authors in the English language, from Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens to Keats, Shelley and Byron, to Woolf, Toni Morrison and Colston Whitehead.
The University of Leicester has denied the changes are because they are ‘too white’
Chaucer, the Father of English Literature
Geoffrey Chaucer, best known for The Canterbury Tales, is thought of as the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.
He was born in London in the 1840s as the son of a winemaker, which was the family tradition.
Such is the respect for the writer is also known as the Father of English Literature.
He was the first person to be buried in Westminster Abbey in the area known as Poets’ Corner.
In 1994 literary critic Harold Bloom placed Chaucer among the greatest Western writers of all time.
‘There is absolutely no truth to the suggestion that certain modules are being eliminated for being “too white”.
‘We want to offer courses that match our students’ own interests and enthusiasms, as reflected in their own choices and the feedback we have been hearing.
‘Leicester continues to be a research-intensive, comprehensive university that offers a broad range of subjects. We will be engaging closely with staff and students to hear their ideas and suggestions in response to the proposals.’
The new teaching plans, which were leaked to the Telegraph, said: ‘The aim of our proposals is to offer a suite of undergraduate degrees that provide modules which students expect of an English degree.’
New modules described as “excitingly innovative” were billed as covering “A chronological literary history, a selection of modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity, a decolonised curriculum, and new employability modules.”
It continued to say it could stop all English language courses and axe medieval literature.
A total of 60 jobs will be lost if the changes go ahead,