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Canterbury Tales A Retelling

ISBN-10: 0670021229
ISBN-13: 9780670021222
Edition: 2009
List price: $35.00
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Description: A fresh, modern prose retelling captures the vigorous and bawdy spirit of Chaucer’s classic Renowned critic, historian, and biographer Peter Ackroyd takes on what is arguably the greatest poem in the English language and presents the work in a prose  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/29/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 464
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.75" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.540
Language: English

A fresh, modern prose retelling captures the vigorous and bawdy spirit of Chaucer’s classic Renowned critic, historian, and biographer Peter Ackroyd takes on what is arguably the greatest poem in the English language and presents the work in a prose vernacular that makes it accessible to modern readers while preserving the spirit of the original. A mirror for medieval society, Chaucer’s Canterbury Talesconcerns a motley group of pilgrims who meet in a London inn on their way to Canterbury and agree to take part in a storytelling competition. Ranging from comedy to tragedy, pious sermon to ribald farce, heroic adventure to passionate romance, the tales serve not only as a summation of the sensibility of the Middle Ages but as a representation of the drama of the human condition. Ackroyd’s contemporary prose emphasizes the humanity of these characters—as well as explicitly rendering the naughty good humor of the writer whose comedy influenced Fielding and Dickens—yet still masterfully evokes the euphonies and harmonies of Chaucer’s verse. This retelling is sure to delight modern readers and bring a new appreciation to those already familiar with the classic tales.

Peter Ackroyd was born in London in 1949. He graduated from Cambridge University and was a Fellow at Yale (1971-1973). A critically acclaimed and versatile writer, Ackroyd began his career while at Yale, publishing two volumes of poetry. He continued writing poetry until he began delving into historical fiction with The Great Fire of London (1982). A constant theme in Ackroyd's work is the blending of past, present, and future, often paralleling the two in his biographies and novels. Much of Ackroyd's work explores the lives of celebrated authors such as Dickens, Milton, Eliot, Blake, and More. Ackroyd's approach is unusual, injecting imagined material into traditional biographies. In The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983), his work takes on an autobiographical form in his account of Wilde's final years. He was widely praised for his believable imitation of Wilde's style. He was awarded the British Whitbread Award for biography in 1984 of T.S. Eliot, and the Whitbread Award for fiction in 1985 for his novel Hawksmoor. Ackroyd currently lives in London and publishes one or two books a year. He still considers poetry to be his first love, seeing his novels as an extension of earlier poetic work.

Geoffrey Chaucer, one of England's greatest poets, was born in London about 1340, the son of a wine merchant and deputy to the king's butler and his wife Agnes. Not much is known of Chaucer's early life and education, other than he learned to read French, Latin, and Italian. His experiences as a civil servant and diplomat are said to have developed his fascination with people and his knowledge of English life. In 1359-1360 Chaucer traveled with King Edward III's army to France during the Hundred Years' War and was captured in Ardennes. He returned to England after the Treaty of Bretigny when the King paid his ransom. In 1366 he married Philippa Roet, one of Queen Philippa's ladies, who gave him two sons and two daughters. Chaucer remained in royal service traveling to Flanders, Italy, and Spain. These travels would all have a great influence on his work. His early writing was influenced by the French tradition of courtly love poetry, and his later work by the Italians, especially Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. Chaucer wrote in Middle English, the form of English used from 1100 to about 1485. He is given the designation of the first English poet to use rhymed couplets in iambic pentameter and to compose successfully in the vernacular. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of humorous, bawdy, and poignant stories told by a group of fictional pilgrims traveling to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. It is considered to be among the masterpieces of literature. His works also include The Book of the Duchess, inspired by the death of John Gaunt's first wife; House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Legend of Good Women. Troilus and Criseyde, adapted from a love story by Boccaccio, is one of his greatest poems apart from The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer died in London on October 25, 1400. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in what is now called Poet's Corner.

Introduction
A Note on the Text
The Canterbury Tales
The General Prologue
The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Prologue and Tale
The Reeve's Prologue and Tale
The Cook's Prologue and Tale
The Man of Law's Prologue, Tale and Epilogue
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 Prologue, Tale and Epilogue
The Squire's Prologue and Tale
The Franklin's Prologue and Tale
The Physician's Tale
The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale
The Shipman's Tale
The Prioress's Prologue and Tale
Prologue and Tale of Sir Thopas
The Monk's Prologue and Tale
The Nun's Priest's Prologue,Tale and Epilogue
The Second Nun's Prologue and Tale
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue and Tale
The Manciple's Prologue and Tale
The Parson's Prologue
Chaucer's Retractions

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