In 1367, King Edward III of England addressed Parliament in the crude language of the masses--English. Before then, the language of the Court and aristocracy had been French, and the language of the University and Church was Latin. In that same year, Geoffrey Chaucer, a young man in the court of the King, began to translate poetry from French into English. He would soon begin to write his own poetry in English against the best advice from literary and scholarly friends, who insisted that no one would read works written in this vulgar language.
They were wrong, and six hundred years later, The Canterbury Tales still reverberates with the keen observations and acerbic wit of this first truly English poet. Chaucer's understanding of human nature has given the world some of the most unforgettable characters in English literature. Travel with the Knight, the Miller, the irrepressible Wife of Bath, and the rest of the pilgrims to Canterbury as they tell the tales that have delighted, instructed, and shocked six centuries of readers.
This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Edition includes a glossary, sidebars, and readers notes to help the modern reader appreciate Chaucer's richly layered tales.