Canterbury Tales

Front Cover
Read Books, 2006 - History - 688 pages
Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held a special appeal for each generation of readers. "The Canterbury Tales" gather twenty-nine of literature's most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society, from the exalted Knight to the humble plowman. A graceful modren translation facing each page of the text allows the contemporary reader to enjoy the fast pace of these selections from "The Canterbury Tales" with the poetry of the Middle English original always at first hand.

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User Review  - Rosenstern - LibraryThing

Terribly hard to get used to the writing, initially. But once you pick it up, you realize that Chaucer was one saucy dog. His tales are riddled with jokes that would make playboy blush. Seriously. Take a look at the kinds of jokes people told at bars in the 14th century. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cyderry - LibraryThing

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories told by pilgrims in Medieval England who are going to pray at Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer uses characters from all aspects of the society - knights ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

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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