The Canterbury Tales: In Modern English (Penguin Classics)

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9780140440225: The Canterbury Tales: In Modern English (Penguin Classics)

Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held a special appeal for each generation of readers. "The Canterbury Tales" gather twenty-nine of literature's most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society, from the exalted Knight to the humble plowman. A graceful modren translation facing each page of the text allows the contemporary reader to enjoy the fast pace of these selections from "The Canterbury Tales" with the poetry of the Middle English original always at first hand.

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Review:

On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy.

Book Description:

This guide places the Canterbury Tales in the context of the crisis in English society in the fourteenth century. It examines the social diversity of Chaucer's pilgrims, the stylistic range of their tales and the psychological richness of their interaction. Emphasis is placed on the language of the poem, the place of Chaucer in subsequent literary tradition, and an entire chapter is devoted to the General Prologue which is widely studied on undergraduate courses. Finally, the volume offers a chronology of the period and an invaluable guide to further reading.

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Published by Penguin Classics (2000)
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