The Canterbury Tales: Complete

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin, 2000 - Fiction - 574 pages

Based on the definitive Riverside Chaucer, this edition of The Canterbury Tales contains the complete text of all 24 Tales, thoroughly updated scholarship from the past 20 years, and extensive editorial support. This volume is ideal for instructors who want to assign only the Tales and have no need for the complete Chaucer.

An overview briefly outlines the basic plot and main idea of each Tale, while a section on language and versification helps students with pronunciation. Explanatory notes provide information on sources, problematic passages, and critical interpretations. Additional pedagogy includes a glossary, a section on Chaucer's life, an index, a general bibliography, and a list of abbreviations.

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Contents

THE CANTERBURY TALES
1
Group
69
Group
87
Group
119
Group
151
Group
172
Group
184
and Epilogue
234
Group
244
Group
264
ABBREVIATIONS
321
EXPLANATORY NOTES
333
GLOSSARY
483
INDEX TO PROPER NAMES
549
INDEX TO THE EXPLANATORY NOTES
563
Copyright

About the author (2000)

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.

Bibliographic information