The Canterbury Tales

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The Floating Press, Nov 1, 2012 - Poetry - 743 pages
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Geoffrey Chaucer's fourteenth-century masterpiece The Canterbury Tales is such a rollicking good read that you'll forget many critics and scholars also regard it as one of the most important literary works in English. A group of pilgrims are traveling together to visit a holy shrine at the Canterbury Cathedral. Along the way, they decide to hold a storytelling contest to pass the time, with the winner to be awarded a lavish feast on the return trip. The tales offered up in turn by each of the travelers run the full gamut of human emotion, ranging from raucous and ribald jokes to heartrending tales of doomed romance. Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of classic literature, The Canterbury Tales is worth a read.
 

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Contents

Preface
5
Life of Geoffrey Chaucer
7
The Canterbury Tales
29
The Prologue
30
The Knights Tale
58
The Millers Tale
128
The Reeves Tale
152
The Cooks Tale
168
The Doctors Tale
419
The Pardoners Tale
429
The Shipmans Tale
451
The Prioresss Tale
466
Chaucers Tale of Sir Thopas
476
Chaucers Tale of Meliboeus
485
The Monks Tale
505
The Nuns Priests Tale
535

The Man of Laws Tale
172
The Wife of Baths Tale
213
The Friars Tale
253
The Sompnours Tale
266
The Clerks Tale
286
The Merchants Tale
329
The Squires Tale
367
The Franklins Tale
389
The Second Nuns Tale
557
The Canons Yeomans Tale
577
The Manciples Tale
607
The Parsons Tale
619
Preces de Chauceres
646
Endnotes
648
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Geoffrey Chaucer, one of England's greatest poets, was born in London about 1340, the son of a wine merchant and deputy to the king's butler and his wife Agnes. Not much is known of Chaucer's early life and education, other than he learned to read French, Latin, and Italian. His experiences as a civil servant and diplomat are said to have developed his fascination with people and his knowledge of English life. In 1359-1360 Chaucer traveled with King Edward III's army to France during the Hundred Years' War and was captured in Ardennes. He returned to England after the Treaty of Bretigny when the King paid his ransom. In 1366 he married Philippa Roet, one of Queen Philippa's ladies, who gave him two sons and two daughters. Chaucer remained in royal service traveling to Flanders, Italy, and Spain. These travels would all have a great influence on his work. His early writing was influenced by the French tradition of courtly love poetry, and his later work by the Italians, especially Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. Chaucer wrote in Middle English, the form of English used from 1100 to about 1485. He is given the designation of the first English poet to use rhymed couplets in iambic pentameter and to compose successfully in the vernacular. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of humorous, bawdy, and poignant stories told by a group of fictional pilgrims traveling to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. It is considered to be among the masterpieces of literature. His works also include The Book of the Duchess, inspired by the death of John Gaunt's first wife; House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Legend of Good Women. Troilus and Criseyde, adapted from a love story by Boccaccio, is one of his greatest poems apart from The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer died in London on October 25, 1400. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in what is now called Poet's Corner.

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