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"This book is a lively, useful guide to beginning readers of the Canterbury Tales. It strikes a good balance between the cultural topics and historical interests that have shaped much contemporary scholarship and the poetic features – character, theme, structure, and linguistic play – that have always attracted Chaucer's readers." Robert Edwards, Pennsylvania State University <!--end-->
"Hirsch releases the pleasure, vitality, and complexity of the Canterbury Tales by familiarizing us with the fascinating otherness of Chaucer's world, and key interpretations by modern scholars. For anyone studying or teaching the Canterbury Tales, this informative and readable book will save much labour, and stimulate much thought." Peter Brown, University of Kent at Canterbury
"John Hirsh offers persuasive and vivid evocations of Chaucer's life and times, and his thought world, which provide useful contexts for his writings. An excellent and original introduction." Corinne Saunders, Durham University
"Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales includes a great range of accurate information in its few pages; even more important, Hirsh's writing is clear and welcoming and his learning and critical judgments as undogmatic as they are stimulating. [...] Although always sensitive to what a novice reader might need to know, Hirsh is never condescending. [...] Hirsh involves us in the delight of the material and the questions it raises in such a way that we hardly realize how well we are being instructed...." Speculum--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Students with little or no prior knowledge of Chaucer, the Canterbury Tales, or the world in which they were produced, will welcome this lively and concise introduction. Not only does it paint a portrait of the poet against the background of his time, it also considers the major preoccupations of the tales, and provides students with a critical framework for thinking creatively about them.
The author inspires students to engage with the tales from a variety of perspectives, setting traditional ways of reading them against other newer approaches. Avoiding the tale-by-tale analysis and focus on individual pilgrims common to old-fashioned introductions, he encourages students instead to consider readings which compare and contrast the tales, emphasizing socially constructed analyses.
The book provides the ideal aid to understanding and appreciating Geoffrey Chaucer and his works.--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description