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The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd Ed. Paperback – 24 Mar 1988


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1327 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 3 edition (24 Mar. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192821091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192821096
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 6.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,955 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.

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Review

'... indispensable for scholars and beginners alike ... Professor Larry D Benson ... deserves a medal both for organizing a formidable team of American and British scholars and for the excellence of his own contributions. IBooks -- IBooks

'This is a comprehensive, readable ... and up-to-date edition of the first major English poet ... the Riverside editors have served their poet handsomely. The new texts are improvements on which reveal just how brilliant an editor Robinson was, despite his limited access to the manuscripts.' Robin Lister The Guardian -- Robin Lister The Guardian

'an enormous advance on its predecessor ... particularly in its informative introductory materials, glossary ... and the addition of explanatory notes at the foot of each page. At well over 1,300 pages, it must be a bargain.' Country Life -- Country Life

`The Riverside Chaucer, like its predecessor and companion the Riverside Shakespeare, is beautiful to look at and a sensuous delight to handle. Within its stout covers the entire works of the father of English literature are displayed in fine clear type with very adequate footnote glossaries. The linguistic, historical and literary scholarship are a masterpiece of Anglo-American collaboration. The reading of Chaucer is made into an exquisite pleasure, not a philological chore. This is the best edition of Chaucer in existence.' Anthony Burgess -- Anthony Burgess

`offers a much-needed shot in the arm to Chaucer studies in colleges and universities' Modern Language Review -- Modern Language Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By B. Tovey VINE VOICE on 15 April 2003
Format: Paperback
Let's get the bad points over and done with: it's heavy. In fact, that's the only bad thing about this otherwise simply fantastic edition. And, let's face it, it's not a text you'll just want to slip into your back pocket for a wait at the doctor's surgery, is it? The texts are given illuminating introductions, which are worth reading before starting the poems themselves as they provide a great "way-in" to the texts. The notes and glossary are invaluable. Chaucer is really not difficult to read once you're used to the langauge, and even the best translations don't do him justice. If you must buy a translation, buy prose ones - avoid those such as Coghill's which attempt to reproduce rhyme and metre as they add too much extraneous matter to the original texts. This edition fully justifies Chaucer's reputation as a seminal English poet - hopefully it will introduce readers to the whole range of his works as well as the justly famous Canterbury Tales.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
The Riverside Chaucer has become the scholar's standard, and rightly so. Chaucer's texts are supported by brief individual introductions, detailed explanatory and textual notes and a glossary - giving those new to Chaucer a wealth of useful information. The general introduction outlines and explains Chaucer's language and style. It is easy to use and the text isn't crowded by too much detail - it's there if you want it, but not forced onto the reader. Yes, it is heavy - but what else do you expect from a complete works?!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Page on 20 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I can't imagine a better edition of Chaucer's works being released. It contains all of the major works in the original Middle English, competently edited and presented in a well-organised, intelligent fashion, with comprehensive introductions, annotations and glossary. Chaucer is rightly considered to be the most important English poet before the Renaissance. You can practically see Anglo-Saxon developing into Modern English on the page, in Chaucer's original poems and his innovative adaptations of classical and Continental forms to the vernacular. Indeed, Chaucer has had an immesureable impact on our language and literature, which is why these works have to be read in the original language. On top of being the cornerstone of medieval English literature, these collected works are also an invaluable insight into the lives and minds of those who lived in Chaucer's time - as well as a darned good read.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
Of course this is a wonderful edition containing all of Chaucer's works, accompanied by detailed notes and a thorough glossary. However, for those hoping that the annotations will provide you with a full social and historical context, I'd just like to mention that the Riverside Chaucer tends to "send you off" to other academic books about Chaucer or about life in medieval England. I found this very unhelpful, expecting notes to give me certain insight into Chaucer's life and thought as well as historic contexts, but most of the help comes in the form of "For Chaucer's view of women, see [insert title of book and year of publication]" sending you off to very academic books that not everyone has access to. Of course, this is brilliant if you're looking for a list of books to read for your dissertation, but if you're reading Chaucer just out of interest then you will find very few explanations of themes or social contexts. Personally, I prefer the individual Oxford Student Texts, the notes tell you everything you need to know and explain the text wonderfully; sadly though, the OST have only published some of the Canterbury Tales, and of those that have been published there is just a handful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen English on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent value, and the book was exactly as described if not better, also came in a reasonable time.
My only niggle is that the book could have been better wrapped. It came in a plastic delivery bag which offered little protection and as a result the corners of the book were damaged. I would prefer to be charged more for packaging if it meant no damage. But that said I would absolutely buy from again , as I said great value.
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