Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

(2789 words)

Chaucer is now best known for The Canterbury Tales, a collection of twenty-four tales (22 in verse, 2 in prose) told within the framework of a group of pilgrims telling stories as they travel on pilgrimage from Southwark (across the Thames from London) to Canterbury. The setting is fictional, but presented in the famous General Prologue as fact, with Chaucer including himself among the apparently random collection of thirty people assembled one April day, in the Tabard Inn, preparing for their journey to St Thomas à Beckett's shrine in Canterbury. In choosing a pilgrimage as his framing device, Chaucer was not only using a familiar and fairly popular kind of journey, but also one for which people did combine with strangers …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Rudd, Gillian. "The Canterbury Tales". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1340, accessed 31 October 2014.]