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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
17,225136184 (3.72)621
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. It 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.… (more)
  1. 80
    The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (thecoroner)
  2. 102
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Othemts)
  3. 60
    Walking to Canterbury : A modern journey through Chaucer's medieval England by Jerry Ellis (amyblue)
  4. 50
    Piers the Ploughman (Penguin Classics) by William Langland (myshelves)
    myshelves: Some similar themes are covered, especially with regard to religious issues.
  5. 40
    The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease (myshelves)
    myshelves: The Mercy Seller, a novel about the religious ferment in the early 15th century, features a Pardoner who is not happy about the portrayal of the Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales.
  6. 10
    The Pentameron by Richard Burton (KayCliff)
  7. 10
    Tales of Count Lucanor by Manuel Juan (caflores)
  8. 00
    Finbar's Hotel by Dermot Bolger (JenniferRobb)
    JenniferRobb: Both contain stories of travelers who have stopped to "rest" in their journey.
  9. 11
    The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast (kxlly)
  10. 11
    Life in the Medieval University by Robert S. Rait (KayCliff)

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» See also 621 mentions

English (127)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
Ex-lib. MED (no. 137C) ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
Text based largely on Skeat. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
1975 reprint. 1986 reprint ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a classic that most high schoolers read excerpts from in high school. Burton Raffel here offers a new, full-length translation. The translation mostly succeeds (at least in oral format) as it conveys the sense of the work fairly well.

While reading, it struck me how essentially medieval Chaucer’s setting is. While he is often talked about as one standing at the cusp of an enlightened England, his roots are thoroughly planted in the prior era. The Parson’s Tale (the final tale in the series) is based on Thomistic and Aristotelian virtues. It is less a tale and more a sermon as it is filled with admonitions and homiletic crafts. I kept waiting for a bit of irony to slip out; however, I found none. Chaucer seemed to accept the pre-Reformation theology as an inextricable part of his contemporary culture.

Many of Chaucer’s other tales are more entertaining and more story-like. Chaucer’s characters, like the Friar or the Wife of Bath, still stick with us throughout the centuries. Indeed, he succeeds in making us feel as if we are along for the walk to Canterbury. We listen to them pass the time by their communicative skills. Listening to this book on audiobook makes this effect especially pronounced. Each character possesses a unique literary and auditory voice. The new translation helps facilitate this portrayal by removing anachronisms that roughly remind us that Chaucer wrote in middle English. It succeeds in its quest to make this great work relevant to our contemporary era.

( )
  scottjpearson | Jan 25, 2020 |
Geraldine McCaughrean's adaptation is delightful to read. I don't want to go to the effort of disentangling its Library Thing listing from Chaucer's original story, but I don't really see it as the same work. I highly recommend it for recreational reading, as opposed to scholarly study, and for reading aloud to children -- if a person really wanted to read slightly bawdy medieval tales to children. ( )
  muumi | Jan 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (186 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoffrey Chaucerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coghill, NevillTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allen, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Altena, Ernst vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bantock, NickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barisone, ErmannoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnouw, A.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, J. A. W.Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bragg, MelvynForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, RaffelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cawley, A. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caxton, WilliamPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, John H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, Robert D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanning, Robert W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hieatt, A. KentEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hieatt, ConstanceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, Frank ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, RobertGeneral editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesfordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lumiansky, R.MTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manly, John MatthewsEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicolson, J. U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicolson, J.U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skeat, Walter W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stearn, TedCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuttle, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Untermeyer, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wain, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in


The Canterbury Tales, Volume I [Folio Society] by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales, Volume II [Folio Society] by Geoffrey Chaucer

Två Canterbury sägner by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Miller's Prologue and Tale (Selected Tales from Chaucer) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Merchant's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: The Prologue by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Merchant's Prologue and Tale (Selected Tales from Chaucer) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale (Selected Tales from Chaucer) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer

Nun's Priest's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Franklin's Prologue and Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer : the prologue, the knightes tale the nonne preestes tale from the Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Knight's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Clerk's Prologue and Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Reeve's Prologue and Tale with the Cook's Prologue and the Fragment of his Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The prologue and three tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Reeve's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Tale of the Man of lawe;: The Pardoneres tale; the Second nonnes tale; the Chanouns yemannes tale, from the Canterbu by Geoffrey Chaucer

The General Prologue: Part One A and Part One B (Variorum Chaucer Series) (Pt.1A) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Prioress' Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer: The Prioresses Tale, Sir Thopas, The Monkes Tale, The Clerkes Tale, The Squieres Tale From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury tales; the Prologue and four tales, with the Book of the duchess and six lyrics, by Frank Ernest Hill

The Physician's Tale (The Doctor's Tale) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Squire's Tale (Variorum Chaucer Series) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Miller's Tale: Geoffrey Chaucer (Oxford Student Texts) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The manciple's tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer's Prologue and Knights Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

A Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Volume V: The Minor Poems, Part One by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Man of Law's tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Franklin's Tale: from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Parson's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The General Prologue & The Physician's Tale: In Middle English & In Modern Verse Translation by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Prioress' Prologue and Tale (Selected Tales from Chaucer) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Friar'S, Summoner'S, and Pardoner's Tales from the Canterbury Tales (Medieval and Renaissance Texts) by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Franklin's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Prologue and the Knightes Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Prologue, the Knightes tale, the Nonne prestes tale, from the Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canon's Yeoman's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canon Yeoman's Prologue and Tale: From the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (Selected Tales from Chaucer) by Geoffrey Chaucer

Pardoners Tale (Complete Text (Naxos)) by Geoffrey Chaucer

Miller's Tale -- Prologue by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Cook's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Friar's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer

The knightes tale, from the Canterbury tales of Geoffrey Chaucer by Geoffrey Chaucer

Is retold in

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Is parodied in


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... I have translated some parts of his works, only that I might perpetuate his memory, or at least refresh it, amongst my countrymen. If I have altered him anywhere for the better, I must at the same time acknowledge, that I could have done nothing without him...

JOHN DRYDEN on translating Chaucer
Preface to the Fables

And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.

Essay on Criticism
First words
When the sweet showers of April have pierced/
The drought of March, and pierced it to the root,/
And every vein is bathed in that moisture/
Whose quickening force will engender the flower;/
And when the west wind too with its sweet breath/
Has given life in every wood and field/
To tender shoots, and when the stripling sun/
Has run his half-course in Aries, the Ram,/
And when small birds are making melodies,/
That sleep all the night long with open eyes,/
(Nature so prompts them, and encourages);/
Then people long to go on pilgrimages,/
And palmers to take ship for foreign shores,/
And distant shrines, famous in different lands;/
And most especially, from all the shires/
Of England, to Canterbury they come,/
The holy blessed martyr there to seek,/
Who gave his help to them when they were sick.
When in April the sweet showers fall
And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
The veins are bathed in liquor of such power
As brings about the engendering of the flower,
When also Zephyrus with his sweet breath
Exhales an air in every grove and heath
Upon the tender shoots, and the young sun
His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
And the small fowl are making melody
That sleep away the night with open eye
(So nature pricks them and their heart engages)
Then people long to go on pilgrimages
And palmers long to seek the stranger strands
Of far-off saints, hallowed in sundry lands,
And specially, from every shire's end
Of England, down to Canterbury they wend
To seek the holy blissful martyr, quick
To give his help to them when they were sick.

(translated by Nevill Coghill, 1951)
Once upon a time, as old stories tell us, there was a duke named Theseus;  Of Athens he was a lord and governor, And in his time such a conqueror, That greater was there none under the sun.
Sloth makes men believe that goodness is so painfully hard and so complicated that it requires more daring than they possess, as Saint George says.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This record is for the unabridged Canterbury Tales. Please do not combine selected tales or incomplete portions of multi-volume sets onto this record. Thank you!
This is a Middle English edition of the complete tales, with glossary and notes.
This is a selection translated and adapted by Christopher Lauer.
The ISBN 0192510347 and 0192815970 correspond to the World's classics editions (Oxford University Press). One occurrence, however, is entitled "The Canterbury Tales: A Selection".
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Book description
blurb: The Canterbury Tales stands conspicuous among the great literary achievements of the Middle Ages. Told by a jovial procession of pilgrims - knight, priest, yeoman, miller, or cook - as they ride towards the shrine of Thomas a’ Becket, they present a picture of a nation taking shape. The tone of this never resting comedy is, by turns, learned, fantastic, lewd, pious, and ludicrous. Geoffrey Chaucer began his great task on about 1386. This version in modern English, by Nevill Coghill, preserves the freshness and racy vitality of Chaucer’s narrative.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140424385, 014042234X

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