Beyond all doubt the greatest work of English literature before Shakespeare, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales brings together an unforgettable group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury, pilgrims who came from all ranks of society, from the crusading Knight and burly Miller to the worldly Monk and the famously lusty Wife of Bath. Their tales are as various as the tellers, including romance, bawdy comedy, beast fable, learned debate, parable, and Eastern adventure.
The resulting collection gives us a set of characters so vivid that they have often been taken as portraits from real life, and a series of stories as hilarious in their comedy as they are affecting in their tragedy. Even after 600 years, their account of the human condition is fresh and true. David Wright's verse translation has long been admired for its brilliance and fidelity. This new edition adds representative passages from the important but overlooked prose tales, Melibee and the Parson's Tale, in new translations by Christopher Cannon, who also provides a new critical introduction and invaluable notes.
About the Author
David Wright (1920-94) was a poet, author, and translator. Christopher Cannon is Professor of English at New York University.
`David Wright is a fine poet, and he has translated the Tales with crisp brilliance and fidelity into classic verse...On every page he offers at least a few lines that make one smile with pleasure. This version ought to be on every school syllabus. The translation is certainly the best we have ever had.'
Peter Levi, Sunday Telegraph
`David Wright's new verse translation of The Canterbury Tales is done with great skill, literary tact, and polish....it is caring and resourceful. It both stands up well in its own right, and is likely to send the reader back to Chaucer.'
British Book News