Chaucer: The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales is probably the most widely read of Chaucer's works. Taught in schools and universities around the world, and the constant subject of academic books, essays and articles down the years, its centrality to the English literary canon has never been in dispute. The Prologue offers a lively and often satiric introduction to Chaucer's diverse group of pilgrims as they set out on the road to Canterbury, and raises issues of class, gender and power relations that are as relevant today as they were in the late fourteenth century. In this Readers' Guide, J.-A. George provides a detailed introduction to the most important critical debates surrounding The General Prologue. The extracts and essays included here date from as early as 1368, when Eustace Deschamps paid the first recorded tribute to Chaucer's genius, and move chronologically through to the late 1990s. This carefully chosen selection of secondary sources addresses the opinions of early editors of Chaucer, and the continuing interest in the poet by other writers throughout the ages, as well as sociological, gender-based, historical and structural readings of The Prologue.
This Guide is an invaluable sourcebook for the study of one of the most enduring texts of the Middle Ages.