The Canterbury Tales
Publication Date: September 2011
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About the AuthorThought to have been born in London, England, circa 1342 or 1343, Geoffrey Chaucer is considered "the first finder of our language" even before the time of Shakespeare. The Canterbury Tales ranks as one of the greatest poetic works in the English language. Perhaps the chief characteristics of Chaucer's works are their variety in subject matter, genre, tone, style, and in the complexities presented concerning man's pursuit of a sensible existence. Yet his writings also consistently reflect an all-pervasive humor, combined with serious and tolerant consideration of important philosophical questions. From his writings Chaucer emerges as a poet of love, both earthly and divine. His stories lead the listener to speculate about man's relationship both to other people and to his Maker, while simultaneously providing entertaining views of the frailties and follies, as well as the nobility, of mankind.
David Wright is an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois. The recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award, he has published in "The Southern Review" and "African-American Review, " among others.
Christopher Cannon, Fellow of Girton College and University Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge