The Canterbury Tales

Front Cover
Penguin, 2003 - Poetry - 504 pages
1362 Reviews
Inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron, and framed as a storytelling competition between a group of pilgrims, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is one of the greatest works of English literature, translated from the Middle English with an introduction by Nevill Coghill in Penguin Classics. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Rich and diverse, The Canterbury Tales offers us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of Medieval England. Nevill Coghill's masterly and vivid English verse translation is rendered with consummate skill to retain all the vigour and poetry of Chaucer's fourteenth-century Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400) was an English author, poet, philosopher, courtier and diplomat, best known as the author of The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer is credited as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language. The first poet to have been buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, his other works include The House of Fame, Troilus and Criseyde and The Book of the Duchess. If you enjoyed The Canterbury Tales, you might like Boccaccio's Decameron, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Nevill Coghill's easy, seductive translation ensures that this, the most popular work in English Literature - now 600 years old - will run through yet more centuries, delighting yet more readers, shaping more writers'Melvyn Bragg
  

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A fun, easy to read masterpiece. - Goodreads
I found this difficult to read. - Goodreads
One of the best pieces of writing. - Goodreads
I thought it was a great, educational book. - Goodreads
Difficult to read but worth pushing through. - Goodreads
I treat this more as prose than poetry. - Goodreads

Review: The Canterbury Tales

User Review  - James Violand - Goodreads

Archaic English may not be your cup of tea, but stick with this and you will be satisfied with wonderful storytelling. Some passages are very profane and show the earthy element in Chaucer's time. Read full review

Review: The Canterbury Tales

User Review  - Shaye Lester - Goodreads

A very interesting read. Throughout this book you hear different stories from multiple different characters, each with it's own twist. While I thought this book was good, I was by no means blown away with excitement. Read full review

Contents

II
3
III
26
IV
86
V
88
VI
106
VII
108
VIII
119
IX
120
XXX
258
XXXI
280
XXXII
281
XXXIII
292
XXXIV
303
XXXV
304
XXXVI
320
XXXVII
322

X
122
XI
125
XII
126
XIII
156
XIV
157
XV
169
XVI
170
XVII
176
XVIII
177
XIX
183
XX
185
XXI
186
XXII
189
XXIII
213
XXIV
214
XXV
231
XXVI
232
XXVII
239
XXVIII
241
XXIX
244
XXXVIII
355
XXXIX
356
XL
357
XLI
388
XLII
389
XLIV
407
XLV
408
XLVI
409
XLVII
433
XLVIII
437
XLIX
449
L
454
LI
475
LII
478
LIII
485
LIV
487
LV
489
LVI
490
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About the author (2003)

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, the son of a wine-merchant, in about 1342, and as he spent his life in royal government service his career happens to be unusually well documented. By 1357 Chaucer was a page to the wife of Prince Lionel, second son of Edward III, and it was while in the prince's service that Chaucer was ransomed when captured during the English campaign in France in 1359-60. Chaucer's wife Philippa, whom he married c. 1365, was the sister of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (c. 1370) and third wife (1396) of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose first wife Blanche (d. 1368) is commemorated in Chaucer's ealrist major poem, The Book of the Duchess.

From 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London, but between 1366 and 1378 he made a number of trips abroad on official business, including two trips to Italy in 1372-3 and 1378. The influence of Chaucer's encounter with Italian literature is felt in the poems he wrote in the late 1370's and early 1380s The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls and a version of The Knight's Tale and finds its fullest expression in Troilus and Criseyde.

In 1386 Chaucer was member of parliament for Kent, but in the same year he resigned his customs post, although in 1389 he was appointed Clerk of the King's Works (resigning in 1391). After finishing Troilus and his translation into English prose of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae, Chaucer started his Legend of Good Women. In the 1390s he worked on his most ambitious project, The Canterbury Tales, which remained unfinished at his death. In 1399 Chaucer leased a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey but died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey.
Nevill Coghill (18991980) held many appointments at Oxford University. His translation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is also published by Penguin Classics.

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