Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale

Darragh Greene (University College Dublin)
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The Knight’s Tale

by Geoffrey Chaucer is a late-fourteenth-century chivalric romance in rhyming couplets. Since its narrative is set in the pre-Christian world of Ancient Greece, it might best be classified as a

roman antique

. The 2,250-line poem — Chaucer’s longest after

Troilus and Criseyde

— is divided into four books of varying lengths, and is disposed as the first Tale in the poet’s ultimate story compilation,

The Canterbury Tales

(c. 1387-1400).

In The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women (c. 1386-88), there is reference to a work that concerns “al the love of Palamon and Arcite / Of Thebes” (F 420-21; G 408-9). This has been taken as evidence that the poem pre-existed The Canterbury Tales, likely having been composed in the early-to-mid 1380s (Pearsall 1985, 117;

2959 words

Citation: Greene, Darragh. "The Knight's Tale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 June 2021 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38760, accessed 21 June 2024.]

38760 The Knight's Tale 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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