The Canterbury Tales

Front Cover
Wordsworth Editions, 2002 - Poetry - 706 pages
About this book: Geoffey Chaucer (c.1340-1400) was one of the finest storytellers in the English language, as well as being a great poet and an accomplished prose writer. The Canterbury Tales, although incomplete at the time of Chaucer's death, is generally regarded as his greatest work. The Canterbury Tales tells the story of 30 pilgrims who meet by chance at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, London and journey together to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral. To pass the time along the way, they tell stories to one another. The Tales themselves range from the exemplary saints' lives told by the nuns, to the bawdy, comic tales of the miller and the reeve, always shot through with Chaucer's cunning wit and dry humour. Chaucer leaves his readers with the impression that the whole of medieval society has passed before their eyes. This new transcription and edition is taken from British Library MS Harley 7334, a beautifully decorated, volume produced within ten years of Chaucer's death. The aim of the present edition, with its 'on-page' notes and glosses, is to enable readers with little or no previous experience of medieval English to read and enjoy this landmark in Eng
 

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it is very long

Contents

THE GENERAL PROLOGUE
7
THE KNIGHTS TALE
39
THE MILLERS TALE
103
THE REEVES TALE
129
THE COOKS TALE
147
THE WIFE OF BATHS TALE
195
THE FRIARS TALE AND THE SUMMONERS TALE
235
THE CLERKS TALE
271
THE SECOND NUNS TALE
401
THE CANONS YEOMANS TALE
421
THE PHYSICIANS TALE
451
THE SHIPMANS TALE
487
THE PRIORESSS TALE
503
THE MONKS TALE
565
THE NUNS PRIESTS TALE
597
THE MANCIPLES TALE
621

THE MERCHANTS TALE
311
THE SQUIRES TALE
349
THE FRANKLINS PROLOGUE AND TALE
371
THE PARSONS TALE and CHAUCERS RETRACTION
637
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About the author (2002)

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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