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Troilus and Criseyde

Penguin Books / 1971 / Paperback

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Product Description

During the great seige of Troy, Troilus, The son of Priam, sees Criseyde and falls in love with her. Later, with the help of Pandarus - one of the first great character studies in our literature - Troilus wins her love, only to be betrayed. Cecil Day Lewis considered that Troilus' betrayal was so painful that no one "without reluctance reads it twice". Nevertheless, Chaucer's depiction of passionate sexual love, his grasp of tragedy and the unpredictability of Fate, and his wonderful sense of the ridiculous often contained in the sublime make it "one of the most beautiful long poems in the English language".

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 332
Vendor: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 1971
Dimensions: 7.79 X 5.07 X 0.71 (inches)
ISBN: 0140442391
ISBN-13: 9780140442397
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Chaucer's longest complete poem is the supreme evocation of doomed courtly love in medieval English literature. Set during the tenth year of the siege of Troy, the poem relates how Troilus - with the help of Criseyde's wily uncle Pandarus - persuades her to become his lover, only to be betrayed when she is handed over to the Greek camp and yields to Diomede.

Author Bio

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, the son of a wine-merchant, in about 1342, and as he spent his life in royal government service his career happens to be unusually well documented. By 1357 Chaucer was a page to the wife of Prince Lionel, second son of Edward III, and it was while in the prince's service that Chaucer was ransomed when captured during the English campaign in France in 1359-60. Chaucer's wife Philippa, whom he married c. 1365, was the sister of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (c. 1370) and third wife (1396) of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose first wife Blanche (d. 1368) is commemorated in Chaucer's ealrist major poem, The Book of the Duchess.

From 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London, but between 1366 and 1378 he made a number of trips abroad on official business, including two trips to Italy in 1372-3 and 1378. The influence of Chaucer's encounter with Italian literature is felt in the poems he wrote in the late 1370's and early 1380s – The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls and a version of The Knight's Tale – and finds its fullest expression in Troilus and Criseyde.

In 1386 Chaucer was member of parliament for Kent, but in the same year he resigned his customs post, although in 1389 he was appointed Clerk of the King's Works (resigning in 1391). After finishing Troilus and his translation into English prose of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae, Chaucer started his Legend of Good Women. In the 1390s he worked on his most ambitious project, The Canterbury Tales, which remained unfinished at his death. In 1399 Chaucer leased a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey but died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey.
Nevill Coghill (1899–1980) held many appointments at Oxford University. His translation of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is also published by Penguin Classics.

 

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