Geoffrey Chaucer: The Cook's Tale

(2231 words)
  • Craig Bertolet (Auburn University )

The fourth story begun in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is told by the London Cook whom the Host, Harry Bailey calls Roger of Ware. The Cook’s Tale is also the first incomplete tale in The Canterbury Tales. Three other pilgrims do not complete their tales: the Squire, the Monk, and Chaucer himself with his “Tale of Sir Thopas”. Each of these tale-tellers are interrupted by another pilgrim, but the Cook is not. The scribe who wrote the Hengwrt Manuscript (the earliest manuscript containing the tales) noted that “Of this Cokes tale maked Chaucer no moore”, recognizing that the tale breaks off, rather than concludes. In this manuscript, space appears at the end of the last line as if …

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Bertolet, Craig. "The Cook's Tale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]