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Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales

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richard dury

on 7 April 2016

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Transcript of Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales

Chaucer and
his times

deposed
Geoffrey Chaucer (1342—1400)
Black Death
1348-9
Peasants Revolt
1381
1300
1400
Edward II
Edward III
Richard II
deposed
The Black Death 1348-9
1348
1348-9
1349
Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)
to England
to England
Lollards (religious reformers)
Great Schism
1360
Chaucer captured
in France
1366-78
diplomatic missions
to Europe
1372-3
Florence
1378
Milan
1387-1400
The Canterbury Tales
1381-86
Troilus and Criseyde
The Canterbury
Tales

to Canterbury they wende
Chaucer and
English poetry

1. Alliterative verse
Old English (Anglo-Saxon)
14th cent. 'revival'
2. 4-beat verse (8 syllables)
from French romances
used by Chaucer before visit to Italy
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
[...]
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende


Thanne
long
en
folk
to
goon
on
pil
gri
ma
ges
3.
Iambic pentameter
5-beat line, 10 syllables, iambic (di-DA)
Chaucer's innovation in English
probably from Italian endecasillabo
then
desire
people
shire's/county's most distant part
go
1000
1100
1400
1300
1200
11th cent.
14th cent.
13th cent.
12th cent.
1066
English wool trade
Written Language
English
Latin
French
English
Whan
that
A
prill,
with
his
shour
es
soot
e
When April, with its sweet showers
Chaucer and
the English language

frame narrative
Italian influence
story collection with frame story
Chaucer's innovations
ingenuous 1st-person narrator
Boccaccio's
Decameron
the Merchant's Tale
Boccaccio's
Teseida
the Knight's Tale
Boccaccio's
Decameron
10.10
transl. into Latin
by Petrarch
the Clerk's Tale
I learn'd at Padova of ... Francis Petrarc, the laureate poet
31 pilgrims riding from London to Canterbury
1400
c. 1350
Troilus and Criseyde
Boccaccio,
il Filostrato
no psychological allegory
focus on sexual desire ('caldo disio')
moral: women are not constant
Chaucer,
Troilus and Criseyde
more original, experimental
realistic love story
we understand Criseyde's thoughts
psychological interaction: 'first modern novel'
each pilgrim to tell 2 stories on the way and 2 on the way back
only 24 stories finished
interest in everyday life
entertaining stories without a moral (novelle)
uses stories taken from Boccaccio and Petrarch
tales reflect the teller
characters: clearly distinguished
characters: mixture of classes, men and women
satire on the corruption of the church, ironical view of most pilgrims
General Prologue

Tale 1 prologue
Tale 1
Tale 1 epilogue
Tale 2 prologue
Tale 2
Tale 2 epilogue

etc.

THE CANTERBURY TALES
The General Prologue


Opening lines:
Whan that April, with his shoores soote...
2
DEO GRATIAS (Adam lay ybounden)
(15th century, arr. by Benjamin Britten)


Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter,
Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took.
As clerkes finden,
Written in their book.

Ne hadde the appil take ben,
the appil taken ben,
Ne hadde never our lady
a ben hevene quen....



Adam lay bound,
Bound in an obligation,
Four thousand winters
Thought he not too long;

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As priests find
Written in their book.

If the apple hadn't been taken,
The apple been taken ,
Our Lady had never
been heaven's queen.






3
THE CANTERBURY TALES
The General Prologue


The Prioresss:
There was also a Nonne, a Prioresse...
4
MIRI IT IS
(1225)


Miri it is while summer ilast
With fugheles song
Oc nu neheth windes Blast
And weder strong

Ei, Ei! What this night is long!
And ich with wel michel wrong
Soregh and murn and fast



Merry it is while the summer lasts
With birds' song
But now draws near the wind's blast
And strong weather

Oh, oh! how long this night is
And I, with very much wrong
Sorrow and mourn and fast.






5
THE CANTERBURY TALES
The General Prologue


The Monk:
A Monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie...
6
LULLY LULLAY (The Coventry Carol)
(16th century)


Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lullay, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
"Bye bye, lullay, lullay"?

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child...
7
THE CANTERBURY TALES
The General Prologue


The Wife of Bath:
A Goof Wif was ther of biside Bath...
8
Herod the king, in his raging
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might in his own sight
All young children to slay.

Lullay, thou little tiny child...

That woe is me, poor child, for thee
And every morn and day
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
"Bye bye, lullay, lullay."

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child...
SUMMER IS I-CUMEN IN
(c. 1250)


Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu
Groweth sed
and bloweth med
and springth the wude nu
Sing cuccu

Awe bleteth after lomb
lhouth after calve cu
Bulluc sterteth
bucke verteth
murie sing cuccu



Summer/Spring has arrived,
Loud sing, cuckoo!
The seed grows
And the mead [meadow] blooms
And the wood springs into leaf now
Sing, cuckoo!

The ewe bleats after her lamb,
The cow lows after her calf;
The bullock prances,
The stag turns,
Merrily sing, cuckoo!






1
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