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The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 24 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (24 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141197749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141197746
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, the son of a wine-merchant, in about 1342, and as he spent his life in royal government service his career happens to be unusually well documented. By 1357 Chaucer was a page to the wife of Prince Lionel, second son of Edward III, and it was while in the prince's service that Chaucer was ransomed when captured during the English campaign in France in 1359-60. Chaucer's wife Philippa, whom he married c. 1365, was the sister of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (c. 1370) and third wife (1396) of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose first wife Blanche (d. 1368) is commemorated in Chaucer's earliest major poem, The Book of the Duchess.

From 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London, but between 1366 and 1378 he made a number of trips abroad on official business, including two trips to Italy in 1372-3 and 1378. The influence of Chaucer's encounter with Italian literature is felt in the poems he wrote in the late 1370's and early 1380s - The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls and a version of The Knight's Tale - and finds its fullest expression in Troilus and Criseyde.

In 1386 Chaucer was member of parliament for Kent, but in the same year he resigned his customs post, although in 1389 he was appointed Clerk of the King's Works (resigning in 1391). After finishing Troilus and his translation into English prose of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae, Chaucer started his Legend of Good Women. In the 1390s he worked on his most ambitious project, The Canterbury Tales, which remained unfinished at his death. In 1399 Chaucer leased a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey but died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey.

Product Description

About the Author

Born in London to a wine merchant, Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400) became a royal servant and travelled as a diplomat to France, Spain and Italy. As well as being famed for his translations, his own work includes Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess and The Legend of Good Women

Edited with an introduction and glosses by Michael Alexander

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (So priketh hem nature in hir corages), Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, The hooly blisful martir for to seke. That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. Read the first page
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookwormsu TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Canterbury Tales: The First Fragment (Penguin Classics)

A really nice introduction to Chaucer. The writing (mediaeval text) is on the right hand side and the gloss, the meanings of some words etc is on the left hand side which is a really sensible way of doing it.There are asterisks on the left hand side which lead to deeper explanation in the Appendix Notes. The general prologue is something I studied in O level many years ago, so it is nice to see it again. there are several stories , and the whole is very appealing. A Good Buy.
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By Neil James Ward on 27 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent read
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband and I went to the Canterbury tales and thought it was great the actors at the beginning were good fun, plus the story's of the pilgrims were great.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Taylor on 16 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good if you like this sort of thing and a seminal contribution to the evolution of English writing.
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