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Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales: A Short Introduction Paperback – Illustrated, Aug 30 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (Aug. 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631225625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631225621
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 345 g
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Product Description


"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

From the Back Cover

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.

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Inside This Book

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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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you enjoy Chaucer but need a refresher. June 13 2009
By CollegeGrad09 - Published on
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.