Beyond its importance as a literary work of unvarnished genius, Geoffrey Chaucer’s unfinished epic poem is also one of the most beloved works in the English language–and for good reason: It is lively, absorbing, perceptive, and outrageously funny. But despite the brilliance of Chaucer’s work, the continual evolution of our language has rendered his words unfamiliar to many of us. Esteemed poet, translator, and scholar Burton Raffel’s magnificent new unabridged translation brings Chaucer’s poetry back to life, ensuring that none of the original’s wit, wisdom, or humanity is lost to the modern reader. This Modern Library edition also features an Introduction by the widely influential medievalist and author John Miles Foley that discusses Chaucer’s work as well as his life and times.
About the Author
Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the Father of English literature and is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.
Burton Raffel is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Emeritus. He is the translator of many works, including Gargantua and Pantagruel (awarded the French-American Foundation Translation Prize), Pere Goriot, Beowulf, and the five romances of Chretien de Troyes.
John Miles Foley is William H. Byler Distinguished Chair in the Humanities and Curators' Professor of Classical Studies and English at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the editor and founder of the journal Oral Tradition. Among his recent books are Traditional Oral Epic (1990) and The Singer of Tales in Performance (1995).
“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