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The Riverside Chaucer

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  7,158 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
Hardcover, 1327 pages
Published December 12th 1987 by Houghton Mifflin (first published December 12th 1986)
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May 12, 2016 Robert is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The Franklin's Tale is the last of the thematically linked "Marriage Group" and apparently some critics think it is meant to be Chaucer's view on the subject; marital success comes from understanding, forgiveness and hard work. It's a "rash promise" story where-in some-one instead of making an outright refusal, instead promises something in case of meeting an apparently impossible set of conditions. This is always a mistake, since a magician or some such always comes along and achieves said goal ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing
English literature is downhill from Chaucer. Even as a Shakespeare scholar, I would argue this, since there are several characters in Chaucer who are as if live: The Wif of Bath, the Pardoner, the Host, the Canon's Yeoman,
and a half dozen others, at least. Shakespeare's characters, on the other hand, are all stagey, bigger than
life, infused with the stage. Or so it seems to me. Chaucer's Wif even makes colloquial grammar mistakes when she self-consciously describes what men like about women's bo
Mar 30, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
"The sore spark of peyne doth me spille;
This love hath [eek] me set in swich a place
That my desyr [he] never wol fulfille;
For neither pitee, mercy, neither grace
Can I not finde; and fro my sorwful herte,
For to be deed, I can hit nat arace.
The more I love, the more she doth me smerte;
Through which I see, with-oute remedye,
That from the deeth I may no wyse asterte;
For this day in hir servise shal I dye."
-"A Compleint to his Lady"

Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the most influential poets to ever liv
Oct 16, 2014 sologdin rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary, medieval
Everyone goes gooey for the Tales (not without reason). But Troilus and Criseyde is the connoisseur's Chaucer. Shorter texts are great too. Most interesting thing about the Tales is how the proto-bourgeois Hoost directs the entire thing to his own advantage.

Hoost's greatest hits include:

But by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
They shul be shryned in an hogges
Faith Bradham
May 22, 2011 Faith Bradham rated it it was amazing
Chaucer is my love. Middle English is ridiculously hard for us Modern English-ers to read, but Chaucer is oh so worth it. I bought this for my Chaucer seminar, which focused on everything but the Canterbury Tales. Can I just say that everyone should read Troilus and Criseyde? No one knows about it but extreme English dorks (like myself :P ), but most scholars think it his greatest work. It's wonderful, and the characters will make you SO ANGRY! The men are so awful!
So, my conclusion. Read Chauc
Jan 13, 2016 Mariah rated it it was amazing
This book was the backbone to a Chaucer course I have recently completed. This collection contains all you'll need from Chaucer's poetry, to the ever-famous Canterbury Tales, and more. I found that although I loved the tales, Chaucer's poetry claimed a special place in my heart. His work is noble and honest. Critiquing of humanity and it's pitfalls, and it's beauty as well. He started something in his lifetime. As an educated and nobleman who was in relation with the aristocracy, he deliberately ...more
Aaron Cance
Jun 16, 2012 Aaron Cance rated it it was amazing
The Holy Grail for Chaucerians. It pleased me to no end that this was on the list of required texts for my grad-level course in Chaucer because it gave me an excuse to add it to my library! There are very few works of literature in the English language as diverse as The Canterbury Tales - in turns deadly serious, baudy, unapologetically sexual, and meditative, this is arguably one of the greatest collection of stories ever written. I've read through The Canterbury Tales three times in their enti ...more
Alex Merritt
Mar 31, 2009 Alex Merritt rated it it was amazing
I may be a total nerd, but devoting a semester to reading Chaucer in middle English has been one of the best academic decisions I have ever made. One of Chaucer's short poems, The Book of the Duchess, written to condole Chaucer's patron John of Gaunt after he lost is beloved wife Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster, is among the most beautiful I have ever read. My class began to read it a year after the death of another angel, Eve Carson, UNC student body president. I'm finding it difficult to put in ...more
Adriano Bulla
May 16, 2014 Adriano Bulla rated it it was amazing
I remember when Professor Savoia told us this was, and I believe still is, the only complete collection of Chaucer's opus, I hurried to buy this tome, and did not think I would ever read it all, but, it looks, years on, many, to be honest, only a few 'minor' poems still elude me.

In terms of structure, there is as much as you can expect in a single volume collection of a pretty prolific poet; a general introduction, a rather detailed exposition of Chaucer's language, introductions to the major wo
Rachel Brand
Read for EN2003: Mediaeval and Renaissance Texts, 2010 - 2011

We had to read 'The Miller's Tale' and 'The Franklin's Tale' for our course. I have to admit, I wasn't exactly impressed by the former, although it was interesting to learn about the background of fabliaux, and our Old English department put on a wonderful dramatisation of it! But not really my style of humour. 'The Franklin's Tale' was much more interesting, especially with all of the unanswered questions and comparisons to romantic l
Nov 08, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok
Okay, so this is THE book for Chaucer studies. However...and this is a big is NOT a reader-friendly edition. The way the footnotes are set up is completely asinine, in my opinion. This is a great edition for Chaucer scholars who have been reading Chaucer for decades and know the stories well and read Middle English just as easily as they read the newspaper. For people not in those categories, this is not the ideal edition. Look for an edition that gives definitional glosses out to t ...more
Dave Maddock
What follows is a review of this book itself, not its contents. Chaucer rules; this book sucks. Here's why:

Let me state at the outset that I am not an anti-capitalist. Quite the contrary. I think free markets are awesome, unfairly denigrated, and usually blamed for things that are actually the result of unfree markets. This book is a classic case.

This book is a chore in every sense: to buy, to carry, to read, to cite. No consumer would choose this book of their own free will. For the cost, you c
May 08, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing
Full confession: I haven't read the entire thing. I have read most of it. Yes, it's in Middle English. Yes, it is awesome. Also, you totally feel accomplished once you've read a good chunk of it. Makes you feel all hardcore and stuff. Chaucer is the mad note.
Apr 30, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Completely edited with the attitude, 'Well, psh, if you don't know what 'scarpenfradish' means then too bad, NO GLOSS FOR YOU. However, we will happily tell you that 'wyf' is 'wife'. Neener Neener.'

Chaucer rocks, though.
Mark Adderley
Aug 11, 2010 Mark Adderley rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest edition of one of the greatest authors. Perhaps Shakespeare is greater. Perhaps.

Chaucer's ability to capture the variety and earthiness of human life is unparalleled. He is the poet of human nature.
Apr 07, 2009 Beth added it
Shelves: classics
If you're looking for some Chaucer, this is the best, most comprehensive collection of his work. If you're not looking for some Chaucer, well, then this book would just be a silly choice.
Ian Bennett
one of the Top three books on my shelves that I will grab on my way out if the house catches fire.
Reading Chaucer in the original Middle English is a monumental chore; I certainly don't recommend it to the faint of heart or the dictionary-phobic. There are, however, some moments that are worth the effort, and almost all of them are found in the Canterbury Tales rather than in the many other works included in this volume. The Parliament of Fowls is a good read too, and a good pair with the Tales (both address Chaucer's feelings about the hierarchy of social classes). The best of the Tales are ...more
I was apprehensive about reading Chaucer due to what I thought was an incorrigible phobia - so unfortunately and tragically cultivated during high school - for everything that is Chaucer. "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote..." What? What? What?

Well, having read, in Middle English, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, The Parliament of Fowls, The House of Fame, his translation of Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy (titled "Boece"), and Troilus and Crisseyde, I must say the phobia was noth
May 29, 2014 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages, smut
Canterbury Tales is certainly one of those books, like Ulysses or Proust or Golden Bowl, that no one's actually read or if they have they hated it or if they didn't they're lying because they think it'll impress you. But I took a whole class on this in college and I had this terrific professor, and she showed me how awesome this is. Really, it's a heap of fun. Are you impressed?
Sophie Dostie
Sep 18, 2015 Sophie Dostie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
After a Chaucer seminar, I have never looked back. As an English major, I reference Chaucer so many times a day that I can't believe I went so long without really understanding his work. A must have for any serious Chaucer scholar.
Feb 02, 2014 Logan rated it it was amazing
As a collection of Chaucer's writings, the Riverside Chaucer is second to none. Presented in Middle English, complete with necessary glosses and helpful notes, the book encourages deeper analysis of Chaucer's poetry than any other available collections.
Jan 13, 2013 Carl rated it it was amazing
I haven't spent nearly enough time with this edition, but could I ever?

Chaucer speaks for himself. His versatility is on display in a collection like this. The scope of his imagination printed between two covers. If you have the patience, going through this thing reveals his mastery of the mottled language, demonstrating everything that linguists love to discuss, from dialectical variation to code switching, and his grasp of human nature is revealed through the sheer multitude of people walking
Apr 26, 2008 Patrick rated it really liked it
I won't lie and say that I read everything in here in the Middle English. The rating is partially due to the quality of the book (physically, it's one of the nicest looking books I have seen) and the critical material that is also contained within. The introductions and glossary and footnotes are outstanding. Reading the stories without context, I would likely rate them a 2 or 3, but Chaucer deserves some respect considering the time period of their composition. Very clever for him as somewhat o ...more
Jul 12, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered the other evening that I can read Middle English. I bought this book about 15 years ago and stuck it on the shelf. Only picked it up again on a whim, and found the language amazingly 'earthy', the words rolling and alive in my mouth as I read aloud. Not at all like the translations, which are like saccharine syrup when compared to the chopping, guttural and yet beautiful real thing. Translations always miss much, so I'm glad I picked up the lingo so easily. An effortlessly acquired ...more
So admittedly I didn't read all of this beast of a book - did get through 'The Canterbury Tales' though. Bawdy and good fun, as soon as you adjust to the language.
Bryan Borgers
Well, that was a lot of work, and now I can recite the first fourteen lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. So there.
Michael Tabb
Jun 03, 2014 Michael Tabb rated it liked it
The definitive volume of all that is Chaucer—though honestly, I would be quite alright if they cut out Troilus and Criseyde.
Dawn Hammill
Sep 19, 2016 Dawn Hammill rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read some Chaucer and this edition is excellent for far more than the Canterbury Tales.
Lady Hermione
Anyone who can't/doesn't read Chaucer in the original is a Philistine .
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Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – October 25, 1400?) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacu ...more
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“Ful wys is he that kan himselve knowe.” 24 likes
“A bettre preest, I trowe that nowher noon is. He wayted after no pompe and reverence,   525 Ne maked him a spyced conscience, But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve, He taughte, and first he folwed it him-selve.” 0 likes
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