Publication Date: June 1992
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The precise, unerring, delicately emphatic characterizations for which "The Canterbury Tales" is so famous are no more extraordinary than Chaucer's utter mastery of English rhythms and his effortless versification. Ranging from animal fables to miniature epics of courtly love and savagely hilarious comedies of sexual comeuppance, these stories told by pilgrims on the way to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury reveal a teeming, vital fourteenth-century English society on the verge of its Renaissance.
These tales bring together a band of pilgrims who represented most of the occupations and social groups of the time. The diversity of the narrators in turn made possible a varied collection of tales including chivalric romance, spiritual allegory, courtly lay, beast fable and literary satire.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Derek Pearsall is the Gurney Professor of English at Harvard University and was Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, 1965-85.
Duncan Wu is a Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in English Literature.
“The Canterbury Tales was written . . . during what the Middle Ages would have considered Chaucer’s old age . . . It is a quite astonishing production . . . [He was] free to experiment with narrative in a more audacious way, to challenge orthodoxies old and yet to be formulated, and to explore, exploit, enrich and subvert all the many available kinds of medieval story.” –from the Introduction by Derek Pearsall