The Canterbury Tales
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The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer. A complete modernisation by A. S. Kline with illustrations by Mary Eliza Haweis.
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories, written in the Middle English vernacular, supposedly told among a group of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury. Chaucer uses the form, possibly based on knowledge of Boccaccio’s Decameron gained on a visit to Italy in 1373, to provide a highly varied portrait of his society, both secular and religious. The journey of the pilgrims, unlike that of say Homer’s Odysseus or of Dante in the Divine Comedy, is relatively unimportant compared to the tales themselves where Chaucer’s true interest lies. Entertaining, and lively, these stories though primarily intended for a literate and courtly audience, exhibit Chaucer’s wide love of character and humour, and his mix of narrators allows him to reveal both the scope and complexity of his times. His interest in religion and spirituality is muted, while his secular delight in the varied lives of men and women is to the fore. A founding master of English literature, Chaucer was highly valued by subsequent writers, and set the tone for the later tradition through his social inclusiveness, his pleasure in the everyday, and his introduction of European cultural elements to an English setting.
This and other texts available from Poetry in Translation (www.poetryintranslation.com).
From Publishers Weekly
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