A Commentary on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

A Commentary on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

A Commentary on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

A Commentary on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Excerpt

This book is intended for three classes of readers. First, for those schooled in Chaucerian criticism I have attempted to collect and arrange the outstanding latest critical opinions on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, and to point out the best of the known parallels between Chaucer's words and ideas and those of authors prior to or contemporaneous with him. Second, for the college students I have expanded the more important notes to be found in good editions of the Canterbury Tales with the hopes that the late fourteenth century will take on the colours of actuality, and that a reference which may suggest fields for further investigation will thus be provided. And third, for the general reader who would like to become better acquainted with Chaucer I have striven to make clear what is obscure in the language, or in the ideas, customs, and institutions of Chaucer's England, so that the great poet will speak meaningfully and provocatively to him. I ask that the scholar and the specialist excuse what may seem to them unnecessarily elementary in the following pages, such as translations of medieval Latin, Old French, and difficult Middle English excerpts, and the glossing of many of Chaucer's lines; and that Chaucer's newer friends be not irked by the highly technical and specialized character of some of the Notes. In quotations I have adjusted the letters u and v to modern practice, and substituted modern sound symbols for the Middle English ƿ and 3. Quotations from the General Prologue are cited by line number in the text; all other Chaucer references are given with other references in the Notes.

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