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The Riverside Chaucer: Reissued with a new foreword by Christopher Cannon [Paperback]

Geoffrey Chaucer , Larry D. Benson ,
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2008
is now the indispensable edition for students and readers of Chaucer.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1384 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 3 edition (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199552096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199552092
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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


The third edition of the definitive collection of Chaucer's Complete Works, reissued with a new foreword by Christopher Cannon.

Since F. N. Robinson's second edition of the The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer was published in 1957, there has been a dramatic increase in Chaucer scholarship. This has not only enriched our understanding of Chaucer's art, but has also enabled scholars, working for the first time with all the source-material, to recreate Chaucer's authentic texts.

For the third edition, an international team of experts completely re-edited all the works, added glosses to appear on the page with the text, and greatly expanded the introductory material, explanatory notes, textual notes, bibliography, and glossary.

In short, the Riverside Chaucer is the fruit of many years' study - the most authentic and exciting edition available of Chaucer's Complete Works.

offers a much-needed shot in the arm to Chaucer studies in colleges and universities (Modern Language 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)

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

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.' (The Guardian)

. . . 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)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE CANTERBURY TALES contains a wide variety of subjects and literary genres, from racy fabliaux to sober tales of Christian suffering, in accents that range from the elegant opening sentence of the General Prologue to the thumping doggerel of Sir Thopas and the solemn prose of the Parson. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flying Chaucer 27 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just as the man himself wrote it and miles better than any modern translation. Apropos the characters in the Tales, these are the folk who sit around you on a long train journey - only the job titles have changed. Chaucer is a warm, witty and wise writer, effortlessly entertaining, and this marvellous edition does full justice to his genius.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new Riverside 14 Sep 2011
Other editions well-thumbed, tattered and falling apart, this new edition is a good investment. Although paperbacks, the gluing process is considerably better than most paperbacks; there are no stitched sections but the glue seems as thick as previous editions which have lasted, despite the hard use, being stored above hot radiators and being a heavyweight.
Re-assuringly like the substantial tome of old, it has the same brief introduction, the biographical section and a reasonable and comforting glossary at the end for those who are not entirely comfortable in Middle English. In between, there are all of Chaucer's works, the complete poems (including, of course, the incomplete "Canterbury Tales") and fragments.
For any serious student of Chaucer, this is ideal. There many other better reading experiences - hardback, fine glossy paper, copies of original illustrations, translucent tissue to protect the plates - but this is a workman like copy one feels free to use as a working tool but in the knowledge that it will eventually need to be replaced.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential version! 27 Feb 2012
Although the Riverside Chaucer is a biblical-size book, it is sturdy in manufacture and essential for all Chaucerian students! The introduction is thorough and varies in its focus from Chaucer's life to an introduction to medieval language. Each piece of work is preceded by a short introduction to the text, providing the reader with some essential background dating and fundamental themes which one may research in their own time. The Riverside Chaucer contains The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer's dream vision poetry and many of his prose and translations, such as Boece. This is the essential version for any university student studying Chaucer and is better than any modern translation you may find. Although the text is very small, the footnotes are well researched and I don't believe this edition will disappoint. A good accompaniment for the Riverside Chaucer is Helen Cooper's Guide for Canterbury Tales, or Larry Benson's guide for Troilus and Criseyde.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is the excellent update to the standard Oxford Chaucer by F.N.Robinson. It has been updated and revised to keep in step with modern Chaucerian scholarship, and has extensive notes, background and bibliography. There are now on-page glosses of middle English words, as well as the full glossary in the back.

It is worth knowing that the text is in small print and there is little on-page space for your own notes and annotations. But that's a small price to pay for the quality of the text and the immense amount of scholarship contained within this edition.

With relatively thin pages and a flexible spine, this feels workman-like and made to be read and studied - it's also relatively light and compact, so ideal for students and lecturers who might be required to carry it around. So altogether an admirable publication, and little surprise that it's usually the standard university edition for medievalists.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value 2 Nov 2010
By wenken
Searching and finding this item very expensive i finally checked out Amazon to find a huge saving.
Item arrived after only 3 days.
Great service,good product. Will check Amazon first next time.
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