The Canterbury Tales

      Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales

One of the greatest and most ambitious works in English literature, in the original Middle English

The Canterbury Tales depicts a storytelling competition between pilgrims drawn from all ranks of society. The tales are as various as the pilgrims themselves, encompassing comedy, pathos, tragedy, and cynicism. The Miller and the Reeve express their mutual antagonism in a pair of comic stories combining sex and trickery; in “The Shipman’s Tale,” a wife sells her favors to a monk. Others draw on courtly romance and fantasy: the Knight tells of rivals competing for the love of the same woman, and the Squire describes a princess who can speak to birds. In these twenty-four tales, Chaucer displays a dazzling range of literary styles and conjures up a wonderfully vivid picture of medieval life.

This is a freshly established Middle English text with standardized spelling and punctuation and on-page glossing. It Features an introduction by Jill Mann, a chronology of Chaucer’s life and works, detailed explanatory notes, suggestions for further reading, a full glossary, and a bibliography.

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    The Parliament of Birds

      Geoffrey Chaucer
The Parliament of Birds

In this collection of poems, among his very best, Chaucer showcases his lyrical skills to perfection. Verging from tragic to comic, the overriding theme of the poetry is love, in its many guises. Chaucer tells of his passion for reading, which allows him to eavesdrop on a "parliament of birds" on St Valentine’s Day; he tells how he, as an inveterate reader, forsakes his books on the first of May to wander into the fields; he complains of being short of money; and he complains to his scribe for copying his verses badly. All in all, in the course of the poetry he reveals a lot about himself, and does so throughout in an engaging and civilized manner.

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    Troilus and Criseyde

      Geoffrey Chaucer
Troilus and Criseyde

Set against the epic backdrop of the battle of Troy, Troilus and Criseyde is an evocative story of love and loss. When Troilus, the son of Priam, falls in love with the beautiful Criseyde, he is able to win her heart with the help of his cunning uncle Pandarus, and the lovers experience a brief period of bliss together. But the pair are soon forced apart by the inexorable tide of war and - despite their oath to remain faithful - Troilus is ultimately betrayed. Regarded by many as the greatest love poem of the Middle Ages, Troilus and Criseyde skilfully combines elements of comedy and tragedy to form an exquisite meditation on the fragility of romantic love, and the fallibility of humanity.

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