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By John C. Hirsh

This concise and energetic survey introduces scholars without earlier wisdom to Chaucer, and especially to The Canterbury Tales. presents crucial evidence approximately Chaucer, in addition to a framework for puzzling over his poetry. Encourages an engaged examining of The Canterbury Tales. Introduces scholars to the old and spiritual history had to comprehend the contexts during which Chaucer wrote.


  • Provides crucial proof approximately Chaucer, in addition to a framework for puzzling over his poetry.
  • Encourages an engaged interpreting of The Canterbury Tales.
  • Introduces scholars to the ancient and non secular heritage had to comprehend the contexts during which Chaucer wrote.

Content:
Chapter 1 Who was once Geoffrey Chaucer? (pages 1–28):
Chapter 2 Gender and faith, Race and sophistication (pages 29–41):
Chapter three Others (pages 42–62):
Chapter four Love (pages 63–81):
Chapter five God (pages 82–101):
Chapter 6 Visions of Chaucer (pages 102–112):
Chapter 7 demise (pages 113–131):
Chapter eight end (pages 132–133):
Chapter nine Which story was once That? A precis of the Canterbury stories (pages 134–151):

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Extra resources for Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales: A Short Introduction

Example text

Four women could hardly be more different, eight lovers more chaotic. But in spite of everything, a sense of gender defamed, manipulated, and enjoyed runs through the tales, almost as though Chaucer was trying and retrying a simple formula to find the time it works. He experiments with persons but does so by setting them against a frozen landscape – one girl, two lovers – which will at once dictate and frustrate their every move. Not Fate, not Providence, but only the writer’s fingers can make a change, though against an aesthetic where constructions last, the twists of chance and circumstance seem written large.

The description sounds on the face of it so straightforward that we pause a moment before realizing that it is deeply idealized, even while it is also exactly right to represent the perfection of religion in the Canterbury Tales, and in Chaucer. Turning from the church’s spirituality to the mechanics of its operation, Chaucer then presents very different portraits of two ecclesiastical functionaries who ride together as “friends,” the Summoner and the Pardoner. A “summoner” was a minor church official whose office it was to notify persons who have been called to appear before the archdeacon’s court.

The fact that he held the tenancy meant that he would be buried in the Abbey, and it is possible that that fact influenced his choice. On February 21, 1400, and again on June 5, royal payments were made to Geoffrey Chaucer, but, contrary to his custom, he did not appear to collect them in person, and it is possible that he was unwell during this time. The date of his death is usually given as October 25, 1400, and though it is to some extent arbitrary, it does not seem to be wildly mistaken. As was appropriate to one of his position, standing, and residence, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, at first very modestly, by the entrance to St.

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