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Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales [Hardcover]

John Hirsh


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Book Description

March 2002 0631225617 978-0631225614
This concise and lively survey introduces students with no prior knowledge to Chaucer, and particularly to the Canterbury Tales. Written in an invitingly inclusive yet intellectually sophisticated style, it provides essential facts about the poet, including a biography and sketch of his major works, as well as offering a framework for thinking creatively about his writing.
Chapters focus upon and promote an engaged reading of the 'Canterbury Tales', introducing previous scholarly opinion as necessary. John Hirsh encourages the student to read the work less in terms of literary realism, with a focus upon individual pilgrims and the way they react to each other, than as a socially constructed production in which the persons and the purposes of the pilgrims are realized by a series of considered constructions which indicate both authorial meaning and cultural context.
Readers also gain a sense of Chaucer's other works, for example why his translation of Boethius was important, and what the background was to works such as 'Troilus and Criseyde', the 'Book of the Duchess', and the 'Parliament of Fowls'. Consideration of themes such as gender crosses over various chapters.
The book provides the ideal aid to understanding and appreciating Geoffrey Chaucer and his works.

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Review

"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

Review

"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


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First Sentence
Sometime not very long before 1344, or perhaps in 1344 (the exact year is unknown), a well-connected London wine merchant called John Chaucer celebrated the birth of his first child, a son whom he named Geoffrey. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy Chaucer but need a refresher. June 13 2009
By CollegeGrad09 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Especially if you are looking for thematic approaches for writing about Chaucer, you will find this insightful and a excellent place to start brainstorming. Hopefully you will have the time to take this in during your study of Chaucer and it will be helpful to you. It takes difficult ideas and approaches to Chaucer and breaks them down into building blocks of excellent literary innovations. A good companion to any English major.
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