This collection is the perfect introduction to one of the cornerstones of English literature. The General Prologue provides picturesque character sketches of the colorful band of pilgrims who gather at a London inn on their way to Canterbury. The nine tales chosen range from the noble Knight’s story of rivalry in love to the boastful and hypocritical Pardoner’s moral treatise, and from the exuberant Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend to the Miller’s worldly, ribald farce. Incorporating every type of medieval narrative-bawdy anecdote, allegorical fable, and courtly romance-the tales selected here encompass the blend of universal human themes and individual personal detail that have enthralled readers for more than six hundred years.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
“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
A Note on the Translation, Text and Illustrations
The Canterbury Tales
The General Prologue
The Knight’s Tale
The Miller’s Prologue and Tale
The Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale
The Clerk’s Prologue and Tale
The Merchant’s Prologue, Tale and Epilogue
The Franklin’s Prologue and Tale
The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale