(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
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 à Becket in Canterbury reveal a teeming, vital fourteenth-century English society on the verge of its Renaissance.
“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