Troilus and Cressida
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Troilus and Cressida - Geoffrey Chaucer. A complete modernisation by A. S. Kline published with selected illustrations.
Troilus and Criseyde is a re-telling, in the Middle English vernacular, of the legendary tale of Troilus and Cressida, which is set during the Trojan War. Chaucer composed the poem in rime royale, probably in the 1380’s and the finished and highly polished work is often considered his finest achievement. The narrative appears to have been based by Chaucer on the tale Il Filostrato in Boccaccio’s Decameron, and though a tragedy in essence Chaucer introduced elements of humour, while drawing a sensitive portrait of Troilus as the deserted lover, and Criseyde as the unfortunate betrayer. Classed as a courtly romance, the poem helped to bring the Medieval Renaissance to English literature, with a subtle blend of classical story, medieval courtliness and English character depiction. The eloquent and cynical Pandarus who leads Criseyde astray (hence the obsolete term ‘pandar’ for a pimp or procurer), is a type that recurs in later literature, for example as the Shakespearean characters Iago in Othello and Iachimo in Cymbeline.
This version aims to provide a readable and accessible modernisation of the poem while preserving Chaucer's rhymes and diction wherever possible, at the same time eliminating all archaic words which would require marginal notes to explain.
This and other texts available from Poetry in Translation (www.poetryintranslation.com).