The First Fragment of The Canterbury Tales contains some of Chaucer's most popular and widely enjoyed work. Chaucer introduces his pilgrims in The General Prologue, a set of speaking portraits drawn with a loving clarity that makes no attempt to conceal imperfections. The pilgrims represent human society, and the tales of the Knight, Miller, Reeve and Cook reveal a variety of human preoccupations, particularly romantic and sexual love. Each tale is alive with Chaucer's skills as a poet, as a storyteller and as a creator of comedy. This edition is designed so that the First Fragment can be read as a unit. A very full glossary faces Chaucer's text, and a detailed set of explanatory notes follows it, so that students and readers approaching The Canterbury Tales for the first time can enjoy and appreciate the language of Europe's first great English poet.
The most complete of all remaining surviving fragments sections of The Canterbury Tales, the First Fragment contains some of Chaucer's most widely enjoyed work. In The General Prologue, Chaucer introduces his pilgrims through a set of speaking portraits, drawn with a clarity that makes no attempt to conceal their peculiarities. The four tales that follow - those of the Knight, Miller, Reeve and Cook - reveal a wide variety of human preoccupations: whether chivalrous, romantic or simply sexual. Brilliantly bawdy and subtly complex, each of these tales is alive with Chaucer's skills as a poet, storyteller and creator of comedy.
Born in London to a wine merchant, Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400) became a royal servant and travelled as a diplomat to France, Spain and Italy. As well as being famed for his translations, his own work includes Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess and The Legend of Good Women Edited with an introduction and glosses by Michael Alexander
“A delight . . . [Raffel’s translation] provides more opportunities to savor the counterpoint of Chaucer’s earthy humor against passages of piercingly beautiful lyric poetry.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Masterly . . . This new translation beckons us to make our own pilgrimage back to the very wellsprings of literature in our language.” —Billy Collins
“The Canterbury Tales has remained popular for seven centuries. It is the most approachable masterpiece of the medieval world, and Mr. Raffel’s translation makes the stories even more inviting.”—Wall Street Journal
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