The Canterbury Tales

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 1977 - Poetry - 526 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

Contents

Chaucers Life Chaucers Works
11
The Prologue
19
The Millers Tale 105
105
Copyright

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About the author (1977)

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 (1899–1980) held many appointments at Oxford University. His translation of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is also published by Penguin Classics.

 

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