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Troilus and Criseyde

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,107 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 - 1400) was an English author, poet, bureaucrat, philosopher and diplomat. Chaucer has been called the father of English literature. Chaucer is credited as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin. Troilus and Criseyde is set against the epic backdrop of the battle f ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published February 28th 1989 by Colleagues Press (first published 1385)
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David Sarkies
Mar 08, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love the classics
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: poetry
A medieval romantic tale of love destroyed by war
18 May 2012

The story of Troilus and Criseyde (I will use that Chaucerian as opposed to the Shakespearian spelling here) dates back only a far as the middle ages, despite it being set during the Trojan War. The interesting thing is that while Troilus does appear in the Iliad, this particular story does not. I will briefly recount the story as I suspect people are not too familiar with it. I also suspect that it is not the style of romantic comedy
Dec 27, 2013 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:

One of the great works of English literature, this powerful, compelling story explores love from its first tentative beginnings through to passionate sensuality and eventual tragic disillusionment. Lavinia Greenlaw's new version for radio brings Chaucer's language up-to-date for a modern audience while remaining true to his original poetic intention. After seeing the beautiful widow Criseyde at the temple in Troy, Troilus falls instantly in love with her. Inex
This is a very good edition of the text. Being a Norton edition, it provides a very good gloss by the side of each line, for the Middle English; critical material and responses; an introduction with very good background information; and a translation of Chaucer's main source alongside the text.

I have to confess I've never been that enthused with Chaucer before. As with Shakespeare, I feel that he's presented far too often as the be-all and end-all of his period. They are massively influential, o
Some great authors spur us on to greater heights; others serve to remind us of our shortcomings. For me, Chaucer is of the latter type. From the beginning, and to the bitter end, he was a struggle to appreciate. I could, of course, sense his greatness; it is manifest in every stanza. Yet I could not, despite my dogged persistence, suck the nectar direct from the fountain; I’m only left with the drippings.

A great part of my difficulty was purely linguistic. I was going back and forth between read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Throughout almost the entire book, Troilus and Cressida appears to be the idealized courtly romantic poem. Though set in Troy during the Greek seige, Middle English notions of love and virtue dictate Troilus’ aspirations and Cressida’s coy rebuffs. Eventually, they find each other in love.

Then it gets interesting.

Betrayal and heartache guides Troilus into Chaucer’s main theme in the final pages. The games of love and human drama are all ultimately foolish and small-minded affairs. Life is wasted
To be perfectly honest, I struggled to read this version. Not because I could not do it, but simply because it was tedious and I hated this version. Does it really hurt a story to translate the words to modern spelling? Some say yes, but I say no. Had I not spent the time seeking a version that was a simple update to modern spelling, I would have hated this story with every fiber of my being.

As it were, I actually loved this story. It started out funny, then it shifted to sweet and heartwarming,
Yes, another reread of this text, my third this semester. I don't think I'm going to want to read it for a long time after this, lovely as it is. I just can't seem to get to grips with it well enough to do my essay, so I just marathoned it, alongside Shakespeare and Dryden's versions.

I read mostly for Criseyde/Cressida's character, this time. I don't know quite what to make of it, actually: she is so virtuous, and we see her in so much detail for the first part of the story, but then we see her
Many scholars believe 'Troilus and Criseyde' to be Chaucer's finest work. Nevill Coghill, the brilliant translator of my Penguins Classics edition, considers it to be "the most beautiful long poem in the English language". So, 'Troilus and Criseyde' has its fair share of acclaim, for sure.

However, after reading the poem for myself, I just had to write a review. It is so majestic, so different from Shakespeare's later adaptation, in a good way, so charming and elegant yet so profound and moving,
Garrett Cash
Troilus and Criseyde walks a very fine line between a farce and a tragic drama. What is so funny is how seriously the characters take their plight. Troilus is just absolutely pathetic. Criseyde never seems to really love the poor guy in the first place. It's an unfortunate situation. Troilus is willing to kill himself at the drop of a pin. The best parts are when Pandarus tells Troilus how ridiculous he's being. Yet all of the pains of love that Troilus goes through strike as very true. Chaucer' ...more
Robyn Blaber
Of course when you read an old book for the first time, you basically know what's going to happen. You can't finish Romeo and Juliet and wonder in astonishment why things didn't work out better. Here, Chaucer crafts the first "tragedy" in the English language and we're prepared for an unhappy ending. All I could do at the end was shake my head and say, "Women..."

I'm a great fan of Chaucer and this story has everything a fan would want. He waxes philosophically and struts his great literary knowl
As with Shakespeare's version of this story, Chaucer deserves rereading, particularly if you're planning to write a 4,000 word paper on his version of Troilus and Criseyde. I've said pretty much all of what I want to say about his plot and characters in my original review, not so long ago, but it is interesting to read this again in light of having read Henryson and Shakespeare's work -- and in a different edition.

Barry Windeatt is, I gather, a pretty important scholar in this particular field.
I wished I had reviewed this straight away after reading. My points of interest and disinterest would have been much fresher, but I'll aspire to recall my final thoughts on Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

To begin, no one should ever question Chaucer's poetic genius, I just think he excels slightly better in the comedy department. I know it's meant to be a melodramatic story, but at times either character got to be a bit...much. Especially Troilus. There were moments of brilliance, but in the end
Like Chaucer's Dream Visions, I did thoroughly enjoy it - save for the time-consuming translation aspect from Middle English to something I could understand. However, if I had the choice between Troilus and Criseyde and Dream Visions, I'd most likely choose Dream Visions every single time.

That isn't to say that this wasn't worth the read, but perhaps I wanted something more than Troilus' pining and this constant struggle between private and public matters. I felt that the first four books focuse
An excellent epic poem by Chaucer, it is definitely heavy on philosophy and draws upon Boccaccio's Il Filostrato. The inevitable betrayal of Criseyde is set against Troilus's pathetic behavior towards everyone and everything. He disregards his duties as his thoughts are solely engaged on Criseyde, heightening her betrayal. It can be a drag at times, but I read the book in class with a medieval English literature professor. If you can take the time and read it in Middle English then wonders shall ...more
I'm not a huge fan of courtly love, so the obligatory wasting away over an inexplicable amorous desire made me skeptical at first. This was supposed to be Chaucer's greatest work? As I read deeper into the poem, though, I began to see: This is why it is Chaucer's greatest work. Chaucer simplifies things, then complicates them, then simplifies them all over again in a marvelous way. On the large scale, he takes us from the conventions of courtly love to a transcendent Christian view of our place ...more
Although often overlooked in favor of the massive Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde nevertheless stands out in the tradition of medieval storytelling, a time when Homer's Iliad was known only to the most esoteric, and when the lines between philosophy, chivalry, and religion were decidedly blurred. Using texts by Boccaccio, Boethius, and Cappellanus as sources, and drawing from the best classical traditions, Chaucer weaves a tale of love and fortune during the Trojan war that has ...more
Dramatisation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

One of the great works of English literature, this powerful, compelling story explores love from its first tentative beginnings through to passionate sensuality and eventual tragic disillusionment. Lavinia Greenlaw's new version for radio brings Chaucer's language up-to-date for a modern audience while remaining true to his original poetic intention.

After seeing the beautiful widow Criseyde at the temple in Troy, Tro
I honestly can't tell if Chaucer is a genius, or a crazy, crazy man. I did enjoy reading this book. I enjoyed my discussions of it even more. What I found most intriguing however is that the weepy, fall to the knees, don't know what to do character, was the male. Oh Trilous, how you so enjoyed to cry while your lover pretty much changed with the tide.

I have to say, that this book did have me worried a few times. I was afraid it was just another Romeo and Juliet but it turned out so much more. O
I would have given Troilus and Criseyde (translated by Nevill Coghill) four stars if the entire thing had been as good as Book 5. All the passion and pain of young love in the first four books was a bit wearing, but when [SPOILERS--stop reading now if you don't want the ending revealed] Criseyde betrays Troilus' love and is won over by the advances of Diomede (sic), things get a lot more interesting. I appreciated how skillfully Chaucer conveys Troilus' anxiety and self-deception as he waits for ...more
I am a Chaucer fan.

I thoroughly enjoy Canterbury Tales and re-read it when I'm in the mood.

This is not Canterbury Tales. Although elaborate and strong, this story of love is serious. Meaty and slow to gain speed, you cannot help but feel for the subjects as the reader awaits the entry of "happiness". It comes late, even after a "love at first sight" beginning.

A difficult read at times but, contrary to a friend's opinion, never mistaken for Shakespeare.
A paragon of the English Romance from the 14th century, Troilus and Criseyde presents us with a delicate courtly love narrative, a friend and uncle who wants his friend and niece to fall in love with each other in the most natural way possible. The story is set in Ancient Greece, in the midst of the Trojan War, but seen from the perspective of a narrator who has the collective memory Chivalry and the upsurge of religiosity in West Europe.
(Note: I read Troilus and Criseyde in Middle English. I can't speak to how this is in translation. One of my friends thought a modern English version was great, for whatever that's worth.)

This is a long poem telling a classic story of chivalric love set in ancient Greece. It was often intimidating and confusing, but it also has great characters and an epic love story. It also makes me want to talk about it. I want to talk about love and chivalry and relationships in Chaucer and relationships now
Jun 24, 2007 Erin is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I bought a used copy of Philip Krapp's translation of Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida in late May and promptly set to reading it. Unfortunately, the copy I found was perhaps a bit too used. When the book split in half I kept reading, managing to reach the halfway point before it split yet again. However, when I began losing individual pages I decided to give it a rest. I still haven't gotten around to getting a more well preserved copy of the text, but I'm certain I will before long. Thus far I c ...more
Emily Wilkerson
The story of this Middle English narrative is nothing new. Anyone who is familiar with Tristan and Isolde/Abrlard and Heloise/Pyramus and Thisbe/Romeo and Juliet will get the basic "tragic lovers" idea, but this story has the added bonus of taking place during one of the most important historical events of the classical world, the Trojan War. I enjoyed the way that Chaucer played with narration and narratology throughout and I found Chaucer's writing surprisingly moving and beautiful. After a wh ...more
Granted, I was an English Lit major in school and grad school. But come on, folks! It doesn't take anything more than reading this delightful romp to see that Chaucer, as always, had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he wrote Troilus and Criseyde. From the fake "source" to the use of courtly conventions to make fun of the way both Troilus and Cressida are continually engaged in hypocritical justifications and yes, nifty, naked lust,this story is a luscious and delightful experience.

I've read
Stephen Hopkins
George Krapp's translation of Chaucer's masterpiece was extremely well done overall. I am always impressed when an author can maintain the same poetic structure as his/her source. Although the translation was not as literal as I would have preferred on a word-for-word basis, Krapp captured the spirit of each of Chaucer's stanzas admirably. My only complaints are minor quibbles over anachronistic word-choice (mostly modern Americanisms), though my pedantry is probably irrelevant, given Chaucer's ...more
This is a very nice and useful edition, with the text of Boccaccio's Filostrato -- the source of Chaucer's poem -- on the facing page. This allows the reader to compare both texts closely, and to see where Chaucer departs from and expands, often greatly, on his source. In the second half of the book is a selection of scholarly articles on the poem. The only fault I can point to is one that this edition shares with too many editions of poems with explanatory notes -- that where a note is most nee ...more
M.I. Lastman
One doesn't normally think of this epic poem as erotic, but Chaucer had a way with words and there are passages in Troilus and Criseyde that are as sexy as anything I have ever read.
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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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The Canterbury Tales The Riverside Chaucer Chanticleer and the Fox The Canterbury Tales: Nine Tales and the General Prologue: Authoritative Text, Sources and Backgrounds, Criticism The Wife of Bath

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“For thus men seyth, "That on thenketh the beere,
But al another thenketh his ledere.”
“Ne nevere mo ne lakked hire pite;
Tendre-herted, slydynge of corage;
But trewely, I kan nat telle hire age.”
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