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Hello there!

This is my first semester as an MA English Literature student. I'm currently working on a final paper for a class on Chaucer, and I'm thinking of writing one on The Wife of Bath, framed by performance studies.

What I'm uncertain of, however, are two issues:

  1. Can we connect historical figures and their lives with literature as one of the sections of papers? I'm thinking of how Alisoun of Bath performs her sexuality and connecting it to a life of a female historical figure from the period.
  2. Also, stupid question, but are we to follow the format of journal articles when it comes to citation? Or is it all right to stick to MLA?

Thank you!

 

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This is something you should probably ask your professor about. Regarding (1), some scholars see this as a useful way to look at literary texts, others do not. Still others (probably the majority) well think it depends on how you intend to make this connection. So there's no way for us to know in the abstract, whether this is a good approach for your paper. Run your paper idea by your professor and see what he/she says. Same goes for (2). Some professors are open to any citation style, so long as it's transparent and consistent. Others are sticklers and will expect you to use a particular one. If it doesn't specify on the syllabus, then it's probably the former, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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Hello there! Thank you so much for your reply. I thought that I've already clicked "notify me of replies" button. Apparently, I may have not, so I apologize for the lack of promptness.

I never thought about asking my professor for both concerns. Thank you! Would you say that it really depends on the scholar or the university when it comes to connecting history (or specifically, historical figures) to literature?

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On 2/24/2018 at 12:39 PM, Glasperlenspieler said:

some scholars see this as a useful way to look at literary texts, others do not. Still others (probably the majority) well think it depends on how you intend to make this connection. So there's no way for us to know in the abstract, whether this is a good approach for your paper.

Also, for thinking about the future and if you'd like to try to get a paper published, sometimes it is useful to keep the citation style/style guide of whatever journal you are interested in mind. (If your professor doesn't have a preference!)


As for the connecting to history bit, I second the bit about how it is all about how exactly you make the connection. Be weary, too, if this is a connection that has been made frequently or might appear obvious. If it is a connection that has been made quite a bit or is seen as a *duh/obviously they're connected", make sure you're bringing your performance studies angle in, in order to assert why your interpretation of the connection is unique and useful. 

This sounds like an interesting project, so good luck! 

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