The Canterbury Tales, Paperback
4 out of 5 (23 ratings)


Inspired by Boccaccio's "Decameron", and framed as a storytelling competition between a group of pilgrims, Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" is one of the greatest works of English literature, translated from the Middle English with an introduction by Nevill Coghill in "Penguin Classics".

In "The Canterbury Tales" Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce.

A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook.

Rich and diverse, "The Canterbury Tales" offers us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of Medieval England. Nevill Coghill's masterly and vivid English verse translation is rendered with consummate skill to retain all the vigour and poetry of Chaucer's fourteenth-century Middle English.

Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400) was an English author, poet, philosopher, courtier and diplomat, best known as the author of "The Canterbury Tales". Chaucer is credited as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language.

The first poet to have been buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, his other works include "The House of Fame", "Troilus and Criseyde" and "The Book of the Duchess".

If you enjoyed "The Canterbury Tales", you might like Boccaccio's "Decameron", also available in "Penguin Classics". "Nevill Coghill's easy, seductive translation ensures that this, the most popular work in English Literature - now 600 years old - will run through yet more centuries, delighting yet more readers, shaping more writers". (Melvyn Bragg).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528 pages, notes
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Poetry by individual poets
  • ISBN: 9780140424386



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 23 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by

As an English major, I'm pretty much require to enjoy this (while analyzing the hell out of it).

Review by

You wouldn't think a collection of medieval stories would be so entertaining. Some of these are hilarious. The copy I had also contained the original Chaucerian English in a facing-page translation which was really neat.

Review by

The premise behind Chaucer's tale is really quite simple: out of a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral, who can tell the best tale? Whoever wins gets a free meal at the Tabard Inn at the end of the journey. Most of the stories center around three themes, religion, fidelity and social class.

Review by

While these are quite tiresome to translate into modern english, or something understandable at least, the stories themselves are quite interesting.

Review by

I've found, like many before me, that Chaucer has many delightful little works within a work here. I thank him for popularizing English as a written art form, as I did not complete my training in Latin. You will be using such foul and blasphemous language as "By God's Blood and Bones" for many weeks upon completing this book. My favorite tale is the Miller's; that naughty Allison and her nether eye....

  Previous  |  Next