A Companion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Overview

This do-it-yourself course for the first-time Chaucer reader is geared specifically to high school and undergraduate students because it systematically proceeds through a clear explication of each tale and makes the tales accessible to those unfamiliar with Chaucer's work. Reading this book along with Canterbury Tales, tale by tale, will help the reader to understand and appreciate each tale, Chaucer's world, and his language. This book differs from other guides to the tales because it takes the reader along on ...

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Overview

This do-it-yourself course for the first-time Chaucer reader is geared specifically to high school and undergraduate students because it systematically proceeds through a clear explication of each tale and makes the tales accessible to those unfamiliar with Chaucer's work. Reading this book along with Canterbury Tales, tale by tale, will help the reader to understand and appreciate each tale, Chaucer's world, and his language. This book differs from other guides to the tales because it takes the reader along on the pilgrimage through each tale and assumes no previous experience with Chaucer's work. Middle English and modern English paraphrases of passages from the tales are arranged together for the ease of the novice. Whether the reader is seeking assistance with a single tale or with the whole work, this companion provides a level of instruction appropriate for high school and college courses.

In individual essays, Hallissy introduces the literary pilgrim to Chaucer the writer, his world, and his language. An explicatory essay is provided for the General Prologue and for each major taleā€”the Knight, the Miller, the Reeve, the Man of Law, the Wife of Bath, the Friar, the Summoner, the Clerk, the Merchant, the Franklin, the Physician, the Pardoner, the Shipman, the Prioress, the Nun's Priest, the Second Nun, the Canon's Yeoman, and the Manciple. Six lesser-read tales are treated in an appendix. The tales are interpreted in terms of key patterns of medieval thought that Chaucer shared with his original audience. Hallissy's style is clear, readable, and jargon-free. Explications are thorough and consistent, and connections are drawn between the tales. Medieval visual images illuminate the text amd suggestions for further reading have been selected specifically for high school and undergraduate students. This work can be used as a reference volume for a reader interested in a single tale or for the entire Canterbury Tales and will be of great value to high school and college students reading Chaucer's work for the first time, as well as to high school teachers preparing for classes.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YAThis readable presentation of the often bawdy and lusty tales is designed specifically for first-time readers. It is indeed a companion and makes YAs feel the tremendous sweep of this pilgrimage across England with this motley crew comprised of knights, clergymen and women, scholars, tradespeople, laborers, and peasants. In addition, it provides students with simple interpretations and amplifications and makes their journey through this great unfinished work enjoyable and rewarding. Particularly helpful are the opening sections on Chaucer's world and language. There are essays of explanation as well on each of the major tales. Medieval ways of thought, religion, dress, and behavior are dealt with for the various levels of society and these facets are related to the structure of the pilgrimage. Portions of the text are set forth with translation into contemporary English. The appendixes cover six of the less-revered selections and also discuss the importance of the links between the tales and the unifying force of the character Harry Bailly, who leaves his inn to join the pilgrimage.Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Booknews
A wonderfully lucid guide for first-time readers, to accompany a reading of Chaucer either in the original Middle English or in translation. The guide is best used in the manner of a college course, read along with The Canterbury Tales, tale by tale. Line references are to The Riverside Chaucer, but several translations are also recommended. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter, while the appendices briefly discuss those tales that are out of fashion with modern readers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313291890
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/1995
  • Pages: 352
  • Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET HALLISSY is Professor of English at C.W. Post College, Long Island University, where her specialty is Chaucer and medieval literature.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Chaucer's World

Chaucer's Language

The General Prologue

The Knight's Tale

The Miller's Tale

The Reeve's Tale

The Man of Law's Tale

The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale

The Friar's Prologue and Tale

The Summoner's Prologue and Tale

The Clerk's Prologue and Tale

The Merchant's Tale

The Franklin's Tale

The Physician's Tale

The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale

The Shipman's Tale

The Prioress' Prologue and Tale

The Nun's Priest's Prologue and Tale

The Second Nun's Prologue and Tale

The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue and Tale

The Manciple's Prologue and Tale

Chaucer's Retraction

Appendix I: The Links

Appendix II: The Cook's Tale and the Squire's Tale

Appendix III: The Tale of Sir Thomas

Appendix IV: The Tale of Melibee

Appendix V: The Monk's Tale

Appendix VI: The Parson's Tale

Character Index

General Index

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