While Geoffrey Chaucer composed several magnificent works of poetry, his reputation as “the father of English literature” rests mainly on The Canterbury Tales, a group of stories told by assorted pilgrims en route to the shrine of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. From the mirthful and bawdy to the profoundly moral, the tales, taken in their entirety, reflect not only the manners and mores of medieval England, but indeed, the full comic and tragic dimensions of the human condition. Considered the greatest collection of narrative poems in English literature, The Canterbury Tales was composed in the Middle English of Chaucer’s day, possibly to be read aloud at the court of Richard II. However, their grandeur, humor, and relevance are timeless, as readers of this authoritative edition will discover.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE SIGNET CLASSICS CANTERBURY TALES
Full critical Introduction by editor Donald R. Howard * Normalized spelling system for easier reading and pronunciation * Extensive footnotes * Special section “On Pronouncing Chaucer” * Glossary of basic Middle English words With a Foreword by Frank Grady and a New Afterword by Paul Strohm
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), often referred to as “the grandfather of English literature,” is invariably ranked with Shakespeare and Milton as one of the three greatest poets of the English language. His masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, has been a touchstone for… More about Geoffrey Chaucer
“A delight . . . [Raffel’s translation] provides more opportunities to savor the counterpoint of Chaucer’s earthy humor against passages of piercingly beautiful lyric poetry.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Masterly . . . This new translation beckons us to make our own pilgrimage back to the very wellsprings of literature in our language.” —Billy Collins
“The Canterbury Tales has remained popular for seven centuries. It is the most approachable masterpiece of the medieval world, and Mr. Raffel’s translation makes the stories even more inviting.”—Wall Street Journal