The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

The First Fragment

Written by:
Introduction by: Michael Alexander
Notes by: Michael Alexander

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140434095
  • 304 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


The most complete of all remaining surviving fragments sections of The Canterbury Tales, the First Fragment contains some of Chaucer’s most widely enjoyed work. In The General Prologue, Chaucer introduces his pilgrims through a set of speaking portraits, drawn with a clarity that makes no attempt to conceal their peculiarities. The four tales that follow – those of the Knight, Miller, Reeve and Cook – reveal a wide variety of human preoccupations: whether chivalrous, romantic or simply sexual. Brilliantly bawdy and subtly complex, each of these tales is alive with Chaucer’s skills as a poet, storyteller and creator of comedy.
The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

Written by: Geoffrey Chaucer, Introduction by: Michael Alexander, Notes by: Michael Alexander


“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

Table of Contents

The Canterbury Tales: The First FragmentEditor’s Acknowledgments
A Note on Chaucer’s English and Verse
Further Reading

The General Prologue
The Knight’s Tale
The Miller’s Prologue and Tale
The Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
The Cook’s Prologue and Tale