The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: text and Critical Introduction

The book is unique in providing:

  • The full text in Middle English
  • An interlinear translation
  • Introductory chapters on the pilgrims and the narrator
  • Guided study questions on each section of the text
  • A detailed analysis of the frame story and each portrait
  • A full bibliography and a guide to further reading

The present book is not written for the medieval scholar, but for the high school and undergraduate student who reads the Prologue because it is on his/her syllabus, or for the general reader who simply wants to enjoy Chaucer. The analysis offered goes beyond that found in the ubiquitous 'Notes' (helpful as these are to the first-time reader) without getting into the esoteric detail of
the specialist literature. It is written to dispel the misapprehension that only scholars can understand and appreciate a text written in Middle English. The intention is to give the reader the confidence to develop his/her own understanding of a work which is an essential part of the European literary heritage.

Chapter 1: "Wel nine and twenty in a compaignie"
Chapter Two: "I was of hir felaweshipe anon"
Chapter Three: Setting the Scene
Chapter Four: The Knight, The Squire and The Yeoman
Chapter Five: The Prioress, the Monk and the Friar
Chapter Six: The Merchant, The Clerk, The Sergeant of the Law, The Franklin, The Five Guildsmen, and The Cook
Chapter Seven: The Shipman, The Doctor, and The Wife of Bath
Chapter Eight: The Parson and The Plowman
Chapter Nine: The Miller, The Manciple and The Reeve
Chapter Ten: The Summoner and The Pardoner
Chapter Eleven: Building Upon the Frame Story
Appendix One: Guide to Further Reading