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  • Published: 26 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241421147
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $32.99

The Canterbury Tales




Penguin Classics Relaunch

Brought to you by Penguin.

This Penguin Classic is performed by Lesley Manville (winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress and known for Phantom Thread and Mum), Derek Jacobi (winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor and known for Gladiator and Gosford Park), Michael Balogun (known for National Theatre Live: Macbeth), Jay Bernard (writer of Surge, artist, film programmer and activist), Seroca Davis (known for Prime Suspect and Doctor Who), Daniel Weyman (winner of Audiobook Narrator of the Year at the Audio Production Awards 2016 and known for Gentleman Jack and A Very English Scandal) and Roy McMillan (winner of an Earphone Award for narration on Conclave and award-winning producer). This definitive recording is translated by, and includes an Introduction by Nevill Coghill.

In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook.

  • Published: 26 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241421147
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, the son of a wine-merchant, in about 1342, and as he spent his life in royal government service his career happens to be unusually well documented. By 1357 Chaucer was a page to the wife of Prince Lionel, second son of Edward III, and it was while in the prince's service that Chaucer was ransomed when captured during the English campaign in France in 1359-60. Chaucer's wife Philippa, whom he married c. 1365, was the sister of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (c. 1370) and third wife (1396) of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose first wife Blanche (d. 1368) is commemorated in Chaucer's earliest major poem, The Book of the Duchess.

From 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London, but between 1366 and 1378 he made a number of trips abroad on official business, including two trips to Italy in 1372-3 and 1378. The influence of Chaucer's encounter with Italian literature is felt in the poems he wrote in the late 1370's and early 1380s – The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls and a version of The Knight's Tale – and finds its fullest expression in Troilus and Criseyde.

In 1386 Chaucer was member of parliament for Kent, but in the same year he resigned his customs post, although in 1389 he was appointed Clerk of the King's Works (resigning in 1391). After finishing Troilus and his translation into English prose of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae, Chaucer started his Legend of Good Women. In the 1390s he worked on his most ambitious project, The Canterbury Tales, which remained unfinished at his death. In 1399 Chaucer leased a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey but died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey.

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