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About Geoffrey Chaucer
While he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, and astronomer, composing a scientific treatise on the astrolabe for his ten-year-old son Lewis, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works, which include The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde. He is best known today for The Canterbury Tales.
Chaucer was a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, Middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Unknown British 17th century (object page; previous upload was here) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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A Penguin Classic
In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight’s account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Rich and diverse, The Canterbury Tales offer us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of medieval England.
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.
"A truly remarkable achievement." —Barry Unsworth
In the tradition of Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf and Marie Borroff’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sheila Fisher’s The Selected Canterbury Tales is a vivid, lively, and readable translation of the most famous work of England’s premier medieval poet. Preserving Chaucer’s rhyme and meter, Fisher makes these tales accessible to a contemporary ear while inviting readers to the Middle English original on facing pages. Her informative introduction highlights Chaucer’s artistic originality in his memorable portrayals of surprisingly modern women and men from across the spectrum of medieval society.
Like Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan and Iseult, the names of Troilus and Criseyde will always be united: a pair of lovers whose names are inseparable from passion and tragedy. Troilus and Criseyde is Chaucer's masterpiece and was prized for centuries as his supreme achievement. The story of how Troilus and Criseyde discover love and how she abandons him for Diomede after her departure from Troy is dramatically presented in all its comedy and tragic pathos. With its deep humanity and
penetrating insight, Troilus and Criseyde is now recognized as one of the finest narrative poems in the English language.
This is a new translation into contemporary English of Chaucer's greatest single poem which can be read alongside the Middle English original, or as an accurate and readable version in its own right.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Chaucer's life and works
* Concise introductions to the poems and other texts
* Images of how the books were first illustrated, giving your eReader a taste of the medieval texts
* Excellent formatting of the poetry
* THE CANTERBURY TALES features the original Ellesmere Manuscript illustrations of the pilgrims
* Offers two versions of the major texts THE CANTERBURY TALES and TROILUS AND CRISEDYE, each with individual contents tables and links: the Oxford University 1894 scholarly text, with original spellings and line numbers (ideal for students) AND a modernised and annotated text version to help the general reader – now you can truly enjoy Chaucer’s language!
* Special criticism section, with essays by writers such as G. K. Chesterton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce evaluating Chaucer’s contribution to literature
* Features four biographies – immerse yourself in Chaucer's medieval world!
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
THE ROMAUNT OF THE ROSE
THE BOOK OF THE DUCHESS
THE HOUSE OF FAME
ANELIDA AND ARCITE
PARLEMENT OF FOULES
TROILUS AND CRISEYDE (ORIGINAL TEXT)
TROILUS AND CRISEYDE (MODERNISED AND ANNOTATED)
THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN
THE CANTERBURY TALES (ORIGINAL TEXT)
THE CANTERBURY TALES (MODERNISED AND ANNOTATED)
TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE
CHAUCER AND HIS TIMES by Grace Eleanor Hadow
ON MR. GEOFFREY CHAUCER by G. K. Chesterton
ADVENTURES IN CRITICISM by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
LECTURES ON CHAUCER AND SPENSER by William Hazlitt
Extract from ‘MY LITERARY PASSIONS’ by William Dean Howells
THE RENAISSANCE AND THE REFORMATION by Andrew Lang
THE PASTONS AND CHAUCER by Virginia Woolf
Extract from ‘INTRODUCTION TO THE PAINTINGS’ by D. H. Lawrence
Extract from ‘REALISM AND IDEALISM IN ENGLISH LITERATURE’ by James Joyce
CHAUCER AND HIS ENGLAND by G. G. Coulton
CHAUCER by Sir Adolphus William Ward
CHAUCER’S OFFICIAL LIFE by James Root Hulbert
BRIEF LIFE OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER by D. Laing Purves
Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to browse through our range of exciting titles
At the Tabard Inn in Southwark, in the London of the late 1300s, a band of men and women from all walks of life have gathered to begin a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. To relieve the tedium of the journey, the host of the inn proposes that each of the pilgrims tell a favorite story, promising that the best storyteller will be treated to a fi ne dinner on the group's return to Southwark.
So begins one of the earliest masterpieces of English literature, a collection of stories as much prized for the portraits of its story tellers as for the stories they tell — portraits that reveal much of the rich social fabric of 14th-century England. Now three of the most popular tales — along with the charming General Prologue have been selected for this edition: The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Prologue and Tale, and The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.
Animated by Chaucer's sly humor, flair for characterization and wise humanity, the stories have been recast into modern verse that captures the lively spirit of the originals. Highly entertaining, they represent an excellent entree to the rest of The Canterbury Tales and to the pleasures of medieval poetry in general. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
After a long list of works written earlier in his career, including Troilus and Criseyde, House of Fame, and Parliament of Fowls, The Canterbury Tales is near-unanimously seen as Chaucer's magnum opus. He uses the tales and descriptions of its characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church. Chaucer's use of such a wide range of classes and types of people was without precedent in English. Although the characters are fictional, they still offer a variety of insights into customs and practices of the time. Often, such insight leads to a variety of discussions and disagreements among people in the 14th century. For example, although various social classes are represented in these stories and all of the pilgrims are on a spiritual quest, it is apparent that they are more concerned with worldly things than spiritual. Structurally, the collection resembles Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, which Chaucer may have read during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372.
It has been suggested that the greatest contribution of The Canterbury Tales to English literature was the popularisation of the English vernacular in mainstream literature, as opposed to French, Italian or Latin. English had, however, been used as a literary language centuries before Chaucer's time, and several of Chaucer's contemporaries—John Gower, William Langland, the Pearl Poet, and Julian of Norwich—also wrote major literary works in English. It is unclear to what extent Chaucer was seminal in this evolution of literary preference.
While Chaucer clearly states the addressees of many of his poems, the intended audience of The Canterbury Tales is more difficult to determine. Chaucer was a courtier, leading some to believe that he was mainly a court poet who wrote exclusively for nobility.
The Canterbury Tales is generally thought to have been incomplete at the end of Chaucer's life. In the General Prologue, some 30 pilgrims are introduced. According to the Prologue, Chaucer's intention was to write four stories from the perspective of each pilgrim, two each on the way to and from their ultimate destination, St. Thomas Becket's shrine (making for a total of about 120 stories). Although perhaps incomplete, The Canterbury Tales is revered as one of the most important works in English literature. It is also open to a wide range of interpretations.
This interlinear edition places Chaucer’s original middle English text in alternating rows with a new translation into modern English. This allows readers to understand unfamiliar words and phrases immediately; and without needing to look elsewhere.
The translation into modern English differs only slightly from those found elsewhere. Here, the key difference is that each line is translated separately, and thereby avoids the problem seen in some translations that words are borrowed from adjacent lines to help maintain Chaucer’s rhyming structure. Accordingly, this translation adheres more closely to Chaucer’s own words; although, in doing so, it may occasionally contain rather more descriptive explanations than is usual in translated works. Nevertheless, this ‘word for word’ approach will greatly assist those new to Chaucer’s middle English.
Parents will be pleased that The Pardoner’s Tale contains no lewdness or vulgarity as can be found in some of the other Canterbury Tales. In this regard, it may appropriately be studied at Middle School level.
This volume contains the complete and unabridged text (with line Numbers) together with an easily understandable translation into modern English - which means it offers excellent value for money.