Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, Paperback

Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales Paperback

Part of the Oxford Guides to Chaucer series

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The three Oxford Guides to Chaucer are written by scholars of international repute, with the purpose of summarizing what is known about his works and offering interpretations based on recent advances in both historical knowledge and theoretical understanding. They will provide readers at every level with new interpretations and ideas, with essential and up-to-date information on such matters as dating and sources and with analyses of thematic issues, structure, style rhetoric and generic relations brought right up-to-date for this second paperback edition.

Helen Cooper's volume on The Canterbury Tales tackles these matters both for the whole work and for each individual Tale. It also includes a survey of literary responses to the Tales over the two centuries following Chaucer's death. The book is perhaps the most comprehensive single-volume guide to the Tales yet produced, bringing together a wide range of disparate material and providing a readable commentry on all aspects of the work. It combines the comprehensive coverage of a reference book with the coherence of a critical account and since its first publication in 1989, has established itself as a standard work on the Tales.



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This serves as an excellent summary of modern criticism. It takes the tales and the prologue on an individual basis and discusses: date and text, genre, sources, structure,themes, and the tale in context. for each one. If you are setting out to read the canterbury tales more or less in their entirety then this is an excellent companion. I found myself reading the tale then Cooper's criticisms and then reading the tale again to check on ideas gleaned from this book.. The final chapter looks at imitations or attempted completion of the tales up to the age of Shakespeare and is a lively read.

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Also in the Oxford Guides to Chaucer series