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 Tales gathers 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.
This new edition includes a comprehensive introduction that summarizes some of the most important historical events and movements that defined the world of Chaucer and his pilgrims; two additional tales (Reeve’s and Shipman’s); introductions for each tale designed to prepare the reader for a better understanding and enjoyment of the tale; newly written and conveniently placed explanatory notes; and a new, more easily understood system for learning to pronounce Chaucerian Middle English.
About the Author
Often referred to as the father of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer was a fourteenth-century philosopher, alchemist, astrologer, bureaucrat, diplomat, and author of many significant poems. Chaucer s writing was influential in English literary tradition, as it introduced new rhyming schemes and helped develop the vernacular traditionthe use of everyday Englishrather than the literary French and Latin, which were common in written works of the time. Chaucer s best-knownand most imitatedworks include The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess, and The House of Fame.
Constance B. Hieatt was an emeritus professor of English at the University of Western Ontario.
“A delight . . . [Raffel’s translation] provides more opportunities to savor the counterpoint of Chaucer’s earthy humor against passages of piercingly beautiful lyric poetry.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Masterly . . . This new translation beckons us to make our own pilgrimage back to the very wellsprings of literature in our language.” —Billy Collins
“The Canterbury Tales has remained popular for seven centuries. It is the most approachable masterpiece of the medieval world, and Mr. Raffel’s translation makes the stories even more inviting.”—Wall Street Journal