The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling

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Penguin, Oct 29, 2009 - Fiction - 464 pages
A fresh, modern prose retelling captures the vigorous and bawdy spirit of Chaucer’s classic

Renowned critic, historian, and biographer Peter Ackroyd takes on what is arguably the greatest poem in the English language and presents the work in a prose vernacular that makes it accessible to modern readers while preserving the spirit of the original.

A mirror for medieval society, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales concerns a motley group of pilgrims who meet in a London inn on their way to Canterbury and agree to take part in a storytelling competition. Ranging from comedy to tragedy, pious sermon to ribald farce, heroic adventure to passionate romance, the tales serve not only as a summation of the sensibility of the Middle Ages but as a representation of the drama of the human condition.

Ackroyd’s contemporary prose emphasizes the humanity of these characters—as well as explicitly rendering the naughty good humor of the writer whose comedy influenced Fielding and Dickens—yet still masterfully evokes the euphonies and harmonies of Chaucer’s verse. This retelling is sure to delight modern readers and bring a new appreciation to those already familiar with the classic tales.


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The General Prologue Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury
The Knights Tale Heere bigynneth the Knyghtes Tale
The Millers Prologue Heere folwen the wordes bitwene the Hoost and
The Reeves Prologue The prologe of the Reves Tale
The Man of Laws Prologue The wordes of the Hoost to the compaignye
The Epilogue to the Man of Laws Tale
The Wife of Baths Tale Heere bigynneth the Tale of the Wyfof Bathe
The Summoners Prologue The Prologe of the Somonours Tale
The Clerks Prologue Heere folweth the Prologe of the Clerkes Tale of Oxenforde
The Merchants Prologue The Prologe of the Marchantes Tale
The Merchants Epilogue
The Franklins Prologue The Prologe of the Frankeleyns Tale

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About the author (2009)

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, critic, and biographer.

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