A Companion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Margaret Hallissy


A Companion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Margaret Hallissy

This do-it-yourself course for the first-time Chaucer reader is geared specifically to high school and undergraduate students because it systematically proceeds through a clear explication of each tale and makes the tales accessible to those unfamiliar with Chaucer's work. Reading this book along with Canterbury Tales, tale by tale, will help the reader to understand and appreciate each tale, Chaucer's world, and his language. This book differs from other guides to the tales because it takes the reader along on the pilgrimage through each tale and assumes no previous experience with Chaucer's work. Middle English and modern English paraphrases of passages from the tales are arranged together for the ease of the novice. Whether the reader is seeking assistance with a single tale or with the whole work, this companion provides a level of instruction appropriate for high school and college courses. In individual essays, Hallissy introduces the literary pilgrim to Chaucer the writer, his world, and his language. An explicatory essay is provided for the General Prologue and for each major tale-the Knight, the Miller, the Reeve, the Man of Law, the Wife of Bath, the Friar, the Summoner, the Clerk, the Merchant, the Franklin, the Physician, the Pardoner, the Shipman, the Prioress, the Nun's Priest, the Second Nun, the Canon's Yeoman, and the Manciple. Six lesser-read tales are treated in an appendix. The tales are interpreted in terms of key patterns of medieval thought that Chaucer shared with his original audience. Hallissy's style is clear, readable, and jargon-free. Explications are thorough and consistent, and connections are drawn between the tales. Medieval visual images illuminate the text amd suggestions for further reading have been selected specifically for high school and undergraduate students. This work can be used as a reference volume for a reader interested in a single tale or for the entire Canterbury Tales and will be of great value to high school and college students reading Chaucer's work for the first time, as well as to high school teachers preparing for classes.


Readers, both novice and veteran bound for Cantebury, will find Hallissy's text a pleasant, enlightening road map. Hallissy;s thoroughness covers each character, each tale, fragmentary tales, and Chaucer's retraction. This engaging volume could interest English Literature teachers who want additional background, students doing independent study on Chaucer, and general readers who long to travel with a classic to Cantebury. -VOYA

About the Author

MARGARET HALLISSY is Professor of English at C.W. Post College, Long Island University, where her specialty is Chaucer and medieval literature. She is the author of Clean Maids, True Wives, Steadfast Widows: Chaucer's Women and Medieval Codes of Conduct (Greenwood Press, 1993) and Venomous Woman: Fear of the Female in Literature (Greenwood Press, 1987).

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Book Info


352 pages


Margaret Hallissy
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Publication date

30th October 1995



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