The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Chaucer may have seen the Canterbury Tales as a foolish indulgence, a work which exists only in broken form, and yet it is rightly considered one of the masterworks of English literature...if you are looking for a good translation, I’d recommend that of Nevill Coghill, which captures the feel of Chaucer’s English in a modern idiom.
-Kansas City Public Library

Synopsis

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 Tales gathers 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.

This new edition includes a comprehensive introduction that summarizes some of the most important historical events and movements that defined the world of Chaucer and his pilgrims; two additional tales (Reeve’s and Shipman’s); introductions for each tale designed to prepare the reader for a better understanding and enjoyment of the tale; newly written and conveniently placed explanatory notes; and a new, more easily understood system for learning to pronounce Chaucerian Middle English.


From the Paperback edition.
 

About Geoffrey Chaucer

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Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1342-1400) had a career in royal service as a member of the court and a diplomat. His literary work, notable for its range of genres, helped establish the English literary tradition. Nevill Coghill (1899-1980) held many appointments at Oxford University. His translation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is also published by Penguin Classics.
 
Published February 4, 2003 by Penguin Classics. 532 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Professional & Technical, Humor & Entertainment, Business & Economics, Arts & Photography, Romance. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Canterbury Tales
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Mar 29 2015

...Hastings's loose prose translation of seven of Chaucer's tales is more faithful to the work's plot than to the poet's language...Like Punch and Judy puppets, the faces and voices of these pilgrims are generally representative but lack the life and charm of the original text.

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HistoryNet

Above average
Reviewed by KATHERINE BAILEY on Jun 12 2006

Despite the dissimilarity of the stories, there is a seamless quality to the work as a whole. The storytellers' common destination, of course, binds the tales together...The Canterbury Tales endears itself to readers through its sparkling dialogue, acute rendering of character, sympathetic understanding of humanity and warm humor.

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Kansas City Public Library

Good
Reviewed by Bernard Norcott-Mahany on Apr 23 2012

Chaucer may have seen the Canterbury Tales as a foolish indulgence, a work which exists only in broken form, and yet it is rightly considered one of the masterworks of English literature...if you are looking for a good translation, I’d recommend that of Nevill Coghill, which captures the feel of Chaucer’s English in a modern idiom.

Read Full Review of The Canterbury Tales

Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Olivia N. on Mar 28 2015

Chaucer renders love and desire throughout his entire Canterbury Tales. Even though the tales were written and published centuries ago the tales involving motifs of love and desire can still be directly applied to modern human nature.

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Reader Rating for The Canterbury Tales
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