The Canterbury Tales
The First Fragment
A selection of the best-loved and most frequently studied of The Canterbury Tales
This collection is the perfect introduction to one of the cornerstones of English literature. The General Prologue provides picturesque character sketches of the colorful band of pilgrims who gather at a London inn on their way to Canterbury. The nine tales chosen range from the noble Knight’s story of rivalry in love to the boastful and hypocritical Pardoner’s moral treatise, and from the exuberant Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend to the Miller’s worldly, ribald farce. Incorporating every type of medieval narrative—bawdy anecdote, allegorical fable, and courtly romance—the tales selected here encompass the blend of universal human themes and individual personal detail that have enthralled readers for more than six hundred years.
A Note on Chaucer's English and Verse
The General Prologue