The Canterbury Tales depicts a storytelling competition between pilgrims drawn from all ranks of society. The tales are as various as the pilgrims themselves, encompassing comedy, pathos, tragedy, and cynicism. The Miller and the Reeve express their mutual antagonism in a pair of comic stories combining sex and trickery; in “The Shipman’s Tale,” a wife sells her favors to a monk. Others draw on courtly romance and fantasy: the Knight tells of rivals competing for the love of the same woman, and the Squire describes a princess who can speak to birds. In these twenty-four tales, Chaucer displays a dazzling range of literary styles and conjures up a wonderfully vivid picture of medieval life.
This is a freshly established Middle English text with standardized spelling and punctuation and on-page glossing. It Features an introduction by Jill Mann, a chronology of Chaucer’s life and works, detailed explanatory notes, suggestions for further reading, a full glossary, and a bibliography.
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“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