At the Tabard Inn in Southwark, in the London of the late 1300s, a band of men and women from all walks of life have gathered to begin a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. To relieve the tedium of the journey, the host of the inn proposes that each of the pilgrims tell a favorite story, promising that the best storyteller will be treated to a fi ne dinner on the group's return to Southwark.
So begins one of the earliest masterpieces of English literature, a collection of stories as much prized for the portraits of its story tellers as for the stories they tell — portraits that reveal much of the rich social fabric of 14th-century England. Now three of the most popular tales — along with the charming General Prologue have been selected for this edition: The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Prologue and Tale, and The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.
Animated by Chaucer's sly humor, flair for characterization and wise humanity, the stories have been recast into modern verse that captures the lively spirit of the originals. Highly entertaining, they represent an excellent entree to the rest of The Canterbury Tales and to the pleasures of medieval poetry in general.