Cover image for Canterbury tales (selected)
Title:
Canterbury tales (selected)
Author:
Chaucer, Geoffrey, -1400.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Canterbury tales. Selections
Edition:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Woodbury, N.Y. : Barron's Educational Series [1970]
Physical Description:
xiii, 530 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Middle English and English.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780812000399
Format :
Book

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PR1867 .H55 1970 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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PR1867 .H55 1970 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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PR1867 .H55 1970 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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Summary

Summary

Begun soon after 1386 and written during several years that followed, Geoffrey Chaucer's great narrative poem The Canterbury Tales presents a richly detailed, highly entertaining, and sometimes bawdy picture of English society in the fourteenth century. Rich with humorous insights into the many foibles of humanity, this poem is considered by most literary critics and scholars to be the first great example of literary art written in vernacular English. Its narrative opens as a party of 30 men and women from various walks of life gather at the Tabard Inn in London, from where they set out on a holy pilgrimage to Canterbury and its shrine dedicated to Thomas à Becket. As they travel, each person has a story to tell.

The most famous and beloved of Chaucer's stories are presented in interlinear form this intensely readable volume. Alternating each of Chaucer's original lines with its translation into modern English, this book encourages readers to savor the genius of Chaucer's original poetry while following each line with an easy-to-understand modern translation of his Southeast Midlands dialect of Middle English. This scholarly yet truly approachable translation of Chaucer's original poem is the work of Vincent F. Hopper, a longtime professor of English literature at New York University. He opens with the famous Prologue--

Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
When April with his showers sweet
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
The drought of March has pierced to the root

--and then goes on to present
The Miller's Tale The Reeve's Tale The Prioress's Tale The Nun's Priest's Tale The Pardoner's Tale The Wife of Bath's Tale The Franklin's Tale . . . and more.
This fine volume also includes an enlightening introductory essay on Chaucer's art, with Professor Hopper's commentary on England as it existed in the fourteenth century. He concludes with a short list of recommended reading on Chaucer's time and his art.


Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)